Running. For some, this word in itself brings thoughts of agony, something that should only be done if absolutely necessary. For others however, running is a form of pleasure or escape, a source of great strength and empowerment. The sport of running can take a variety of forms, from track sprints, trail running and leisurely jogs to half marathons, marathons and ultra marathons; running can be considered a leisurely or competitive sport. While running is known to have numerous physical and mental health benefits, there are concerns about body image and eating disorders within the running community. For many in this community, issues surrounding body image cause more queasiness than lining up at the race start line. All too often, we hear shy runners feeling like they will be judged for their body type by more experienced runners. Age-old myths surrounding the ideal runner’s body or the idea that slim builds lead to fast times, have led a large group of people in the running community to feel inadequate. The running fashion industry has also lead a lot of runners to feel inadequate about their body and most running clothes are tight fitting and only are available in certain sizes, usually sizes that are designed to fit the typical runner’s build.
Anyone involved in athletics knows firsthand that eating disorders are active in the sport culture and it cannot be ignored. Just like the recent attention to concussions in the last five years, this is a serious issue. The pressure to look a certain way can lead to a distorted body image, and this mind-set is common among endurance athletes who are clinically diagnosed with eating disorders or struggle with disordered eating, defined as subclinical eating disorder behavior. Adhering to a restrictive diet and arbitrary weight goals can have both short- and long-term effects. Even if athletes see their times drop, doctors warn about the damage a low-calorie diet, purging or binge eating can do to a person’s body, all of which can cause an individual’s energy level to drop or lead to growth and development issues, depression, and impaired judgment.
Center For Discovery's Treatment Centers specialize in treatment for eating disorders, mental health and dual diagnosis treatment with unique treatment programs for every individual to get them on their way to eating disorder recovery.
For more information, resources, or to consult with one of our specialists, call 866.809.3843
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