Here is a sports medicine journal article which is the only one I found about survivors and issues with exercise. There was another one that said that about half of the survivors surveyed had found physical exercise to be a helpful healing strategy. I’d have to say that it fits for me. I feel like I’ll fail, generally, at whatever physical exercise I do if it’s at all taxing. Partner dance seems to be an exception for me. I think it’s the slower pace initially and the social part of it (someone is there to do it with the whole time) that makes it easier.
Relationship of Sexual Abuse to Motivation for Strenuous Exercise
Hesdon B, Salmon P
J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2003;43:213-219
Aim: Sources of motivation for intense physical exercise are poorly understood. Based on views that link such behaviour to preexisting psychopathology, we tested the hypotheses that history of childhood sexual abuse would be greater in intense exercisers than in non-exercisers, and that effects of abuse on self-esteem, perfectionism and body dissatisfaction would help to explain any link between abuse and exercise.
Methods: Consecutive attenders at two types of exercise were recruited: weight training and running. Sedentary attenders at a further education college provided a third, comparison group. Each group contained 64 men and 64 women. Participants completed questionnaires to record history of sexual and physical abuse in childhood and adulthood, body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, and positive and negative perfectionism.
Results: Adult, but not childhood abuse, was reported by more weight-trainers than others. Abused individuals were more anxious and depressed, were more negative about themselves and were more concerned with avoiding failure in general. Women abused in childhood were more concerned with avoiding failure at exercise in particular.
Conclusion: These results suggest hypotheses that link adult abuse to intense weight training habits and, in women, that link child abuse to feelings of failure in exercise.