Calls for gyms to monitor fitness addicts

Many also have eating disorders

Fitness centres should do more to help people who do a dangerous amount of exercise, according to an eating disorder charity.

Beat said that health clubs should train staff to spot and advise members who are over-exercising.

Compulsive exercisers feel forced to exercise, often for hours every day, in order to burn calories. Doctors say up to 75% of sufferers also have eating disorders and are risking serious health issues.

Susan Ringwood from beat and said staff at health centres should be trained to spot and advise compulsive exercisers. ‘We would like to see the exercise industry and the gyms in particular have some guidelines in place to help people who might be at risk.’

The charity also wants gyms to take a record of people who might have a history of eating disorders. ‘If you’ve got a heart complaint or asthma it’s marked in your notes when you join. We’d like the gyms to do the same with eating disorders.’

Doing too much exercise puts a dangerous amount of pressure on your body. Muscles and bones are often damaged and if they’re not given time to heal it can result in long-term damage, like osteoporosis, arthritis and heart problems.

Not everyone thinks health clubs should be made to help sufferers though. Mario Pederzolli runs Fitrooms in south London. He said: ‘A member in a gym working out – that’s only a very small part of their week. Who’s to say what they’ll be doing elsewhere? At the end of the day… it’s about the individual rather than a nanny state blanket rule for everybody.’

Doctors say teenagers and young people especially should try and limit gyms sessions to three to four 45 minute sessions a week.

Anyone who is worried about over-exercising is advised to speak to their GP.

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