Features and management of compulsive exercising in eating disorders.

Phys Sportsmed. 2009 Oct;37(3):20-8. doi: 10.3810/psm.2009.10.1725.

Dalle Grave R.


Compulsive exercising is a common feature of patients with eating disorders. It is reported more frequently by patients with restricting-type anorexia nervosa than with other eating disorders. It is associated with higher eating disorder psychopathology, dietary restraint, general psychopathology, and specific personality features (ie, higher levels of perfectionism, persistence, and lower novelty seeking). It is a potent maintaining mechanism of eating disorder psychopathology, and it increases the risk of overuse injuries, bone fractures, and cardiac complications. It also appears to be a predictor of poor treatment outcome. Literature are lacking regarding its treatment, but cognitive-behavioral therapy in its enhanced form appears to be a promising treatment in hospitalized patients.