Is It Good to Exercise While Recovering from Anorexia?

By February 27, 2013

I’ve been anorexic for 5 years now, and I have been as low as **kg (**lb) to **kg (**lb) for 164 cm (5’4.5”). I’m 20 years old and I’m now at *** kilo (*** lbs). I would like to get healthy habits back and I think that exercising would be good. Is it good to exercise while recovering from anorexia?? I don’t want to feel bad in my body like I do every time I put on weight because I don’t have the strength to do things, so I figured that if I trim my body while gaining weight it won’t be as bad. I don’t have muscle anymore. On the other hand, I don’t want to be trapped after, by telling myself I need to exercise, if I don’t want to gain weight… What is good???

Dear Visitor,

Your healthcare team, if you have one, will give you the best answers and explanations to your questions. Exercise and expending calories does not help you recover. It is not good physically or mentally to exercise when underweight as it allows the eating disorder to be in control and it deprives the organs of the fuel it needs for optimal functioning.

Feeling bad when doing what’s right (restoring weight, not exercising, eating enough) happens in recovery because the eating disorder wants to stay in power and the emotions that surface can feel scary. You can say “no” to the eating disorder and trust your healthcare team instead.


In addition to Eileen’s  answer above, we would like to applaud your courage in reaching out for help. The weight numbers you provided us indicate that it would be very important for you to find someone to work with you one on one, if you are not in a treatment program already. We have several suggestions on our website for finding treatment in the US. However, if you are in another country and these are not helpful, we strongly suggest you seek treatment in your location.

We pray you are able to find hope and healing.

Fb Team