Practicing physical exercise on a regular and supervised basis could help people suffering from anorexia nervosa to improve their self-esteem and self-image, as well as reduce their emotional problems and facilitate their adaptation to the feedback treatments.
These are the conclusions, at least, of a study carried out by scientists from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, the European University and the Niño Jesús University Children's Hospital in Madrid.
Excessive exercise is one of the causes of anorexia nervosa and is related to a worse prognosis of this condition. But in previous studies it had been observed that the practice of supervised physical exercise produced benefits in the health of these patients.
The severe malnutrition that people with this disorder present causes many health disorders, including muscle atrophy, which also decreases their level of strength. Thus, a training to improve strength could be very suitable for them. Especially taking into account that the energy expenditure that it causes is less than what would be produced by doing aerobic exercises, and that a double objective is achieved, since it also favors the density of bone mass.
Researchers conducted a study to test the effectiveness of low-intensity strength training - two sessions a week for three months - on the muscle power, body mass and functional capacity of a group of 22 young people, whose ages ranged between 13 and 15 years old.
The training program was well tolerated by the participants, and did not have negative effects on their health nor did it cause significant losses of body mass. In addition, the authors of the work indicated that this training did not alter the patient's ability to gain or maintain weight, which means that its clinical application could be viable.