The Hidden Dangers of Staying in Shape



A healthy diet and regular exercise should be non-negotiable in anyone's life, but as with most things, too much of a good thing can be harmful. We asked Dr. Marci Goolsby, a sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery’s Women’s Sports Medicine Center, to give us insight into some of the hidden dangers that may come with staying in shape.

  • Exercising without adequate nutrition can lead to bone and fertility issues in women. This can cause one to skip periods, leading to fertility issues and weakened bones, thereby increasing the risk of stress fracture and future osteoporosis.

  • Your body needs rest time in order to improve and recover from minor injuries. Excessive exercise without rest can lead to increased risk of injury and overtraining syndrome, which can cause notable fatigue that can be challenging to treat and requires prolonged rest.

  • Balance is important in a healthy exercise program and should include cardiovascular exercise, strength training as well as balance and flexibility exercises. Not incorporating a balance of exercise can lead to injury. Overworking one aspect of exercise or one body part can lead to overuse injuries.

  • Getting started with exercise is the first step to a healthy lifestyle, but it is important to start any new exercise slowly. Building a base is important for any new program.

  • Some people can develop an unhealthy relationship with their exercise habits. Missing a workout due to illness or other life factors can be emotionally devastating and cause unhealthy guilt. This may even be a form of an eating disorder since exercise can be a form of purging.