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Attitude Determines How Much Exercise is too Much

It is a persons attitude that determines how much exercise is too much for a person, say mental health experts at The Menninger Clinic.

The researchers say that people who exercise frequently because they enjoy it, and like the health benefits it provides have the right reason in mind, but those participating in physical activities due to compulsions or in spite of injuries may be at a risk of developing an exercise disorder.

"There is no set formula or standard that reveals how much exercising is too much. But if exercising is interfering in a persons life, and it is compulsory, then it may be a problem," says Dr. Theresa Fassihi, a psychologist with the Eating Disorders Program at The Menninger Clinic.

Dr. Fassihi treats patients in the Eating Disorders Program who over exercise in an attempt to burn off calories. She says that it is common for patients with exercise disorders to also have an eating disorder, and that the problems occur when body perception doesnt match reality.

The researchers say that persons involved in activities or professions that require physical beauty or high levels of physical performance, such as athletes and dancers, are particularly vulnerable to developing exercise disorders.

"If you have an exercising disorder, you also may be very preoccupied about your bodys appearance, weight and muscle mass. You spend a lot of time looking at yourself, scrutinising yourself, measuring yourself and constantly working out to create the muscle mass or lean body that you want," Dr. Fassihi says.

She further said that many persons with exercise disorders restrict their calories, based on the mistaken belief that they will build a higher proportion of muscle if they restrict their food intake while exercising, but in fact they lose both muscle and fat, putting their health at risk.

"Over exercising can cause significant damage to the body. It can increase the risk of injurie
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