The risks of intensively and excessively exercising

The risks of intensively and excessively exercising

Various problems, both physically and psychologically, can occur as a result of a excessive exercise.

Increased risk of injury

  • Some high contact sports are more prone to injury than others, therefore there is always a risk of injuring yourself especially if regularly training. Your age and condition under which your sport is played can also affect your risk of injury.
  • Each sport has its types of injuries associated with it


Swimming often leads to the appearance of tendinitis of the shoulder (according to some studies this accounts for 21% of the total number of injuries for this sport).


Cycling is frequently responsible for a tendinopathy at the level of the knee (13 for every 100.000 km cycled).


  • Running races causes patellar syndrome, knee and ankle tendinitis, and stress fractures caused through fatigue.
  • According to some studies, running races is responsible for 8 to 20% of the injuries sustained compare to 1% on average for other sports.

For children

For growing children, careful attention must be paid to the risk of overtaxing and damaging the growth cartilage (epiphyseal and apophysis) also called osteochondritis. This is much more prevalent than ligament injuries, muscular or tendon injuries which are more common amongst adults.


  • Intensive sports such as football, hockey, tennis have high arthritic risks associated with them, particularly after the occurrence of an initial accident (such as a torn ligament) or in the case of morphological abnormalities.
  • Moderate physical activity can have beneficial effects on osteoarthritis. It improves functionality of the joint and decreases the pain associated with this condition. However, exercises must be adapted to the individual.

For women

Excessive exercise and training for sport can affect a women's menstrual cycle. It can delay puberty and stop ovulation and therefore fertility.

Psychological risks


Sportsmen and women who work out very intensively can become more anxious and therefore more stressed.


Recent studies indicate that approximately 4%, of the general population who exercise become addicted to it.

The type of addiction depends strongly on the type and intensity of sport or exercise practiced

  • Men are more prone to this addiction phenomenon.
  • The search for thrills and getting a `high' fro certain sports are important factors increasing the addiction.
  • The most likely sports to be involved are long distance running, marathons and bodybuilding.
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