Excessive and obsessive exercise is very harmful to health, particularly for people suffering from eating disorders, according to a study which has uncovered for the first time the psychological mechanism behind "exercise addiction". The study published in the journal psychotherapy and psychosomatics revealed that persons with eating disorders use exercise to regulate depressive mood and negative thoughts which may turn into an" addiction" and cause illness.
Using electronic diaries, the researchers, including those from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany, recorded the experiences and daily life behavior of 29 patients with eating disorders, and 35 healthy controls. "With these electronic diaries, we studied the dynamic interaction of physical exercise and psychological variables in everyday life," explained study co-author Markus Reichert from KIT. The research said the positive effects of exercise lead people with eating disorders towards more physical activity, and the need for this feeling made them want to exercise again when the effect declined "This may result in a vicious circle, in wgcihbkore and more exercise is needed to feel good," said Almut Zeeck study co-author from the University of Freiburg in Germany. After exercise patients with eating disorders had a better mood and they felt more relaxed, and less pressured to be slim.
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