Slim, toned celebrities grace the covers of nearly every pop culture magazine on stands today which may give publicity to so-and-so and an “edge” in the industry, but how do they affect teens?
One negative effect is over-exercising. A person with this illness doesn’t take working out lightly (no pun intended.) Studies show that the average obsessive exerciser is sweating themselves to death up to six hours a day. While some students at PHS think this statistic is appalling, others are confused. Senior Joel Beach said, “I thought working out was supposed to be good for you, not bad?” Many other teenagers, besides Beach, are unaware of the hazards of fad diets due to media misconceptions and bogus workout mantras like “no pain, no gain.”
Over-exercising rarely results in a perfectly sculpted six-pack or a modeling contract. The physical dangers of the disorder include less glamorous consequences like stress fractures, torn muscles, and malnutrition. Heart problems can even occur if an individual doesn’t eat enough to sustain his or her workout. Furthermore, females can develop irregular periods, and males may experience a significant drop in their testosterone level.
As if those reasons aren’t enough to stop teens from “running themselves into the ground,” there are also extensive emotional dangers. Compulsively exercising is an addiction that can lead to an obsessive-compulsive disorder, an eating disorder, and a warped state of mind wherein only looks and performance matter.
Even though the Village People put a positive spin on how fun it is to stay at the “Y-M-C-A,” working out more than once a day for extended periods of time is downright taxing on the body. For healthy alternatives, a teenager may benefit from the following tips: participate in physical activities that are enjoyable, not ones that are done as an obligation; don’t attempt to exercise when one’s body is in pain or severely tired; and drink plenty of water during the workout.