Exercise is addicting? Nah…

By , August 19, 2009 6:37 am

How ironic that this story came on the news yesterday while I was working out in the gym*:

Exercise fanatics ‘suffer withdrawal like drug addicts’

Check out this paragraph:

They reported: “Although exercise is good for your health, extreme exercise may be physically addictive. Excessive running shares similarities with drug-taking behaviour. As with food intake and other parts of life, moderation seems to be the key. “Exercise, as long as it doesn’t interfere with other aspects of one’s life, is a good thing with respect to both physical and mental health.”

The news story I saw talked about how they are not sure if this is true, because it has only been tested on rats**, not humans. Uh, yeah. I am pretty sure this is true, based on experience. What do you think?

Have you ever suffered "withdrawal symptoms" when you had to stop exercising?

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The last time I saw my therapist, she told me to come up with a few things I could do instead of run, while my shin heals. I still haven’t come up with anything. Sleep in? That isn’t really a hobby.

I was thinking about biking. That involves (Steven) getting my bike ready and purchasing a helmet. I do have a giftcard to Dick’s Sporting Goods…

*A few months ago, I was working out on treadmill and a news story came out about the dangers of the treadmill. I think it was after someone famous’s daughter died from a treadmill?
**Which I do not support.

18 Responses to “Exercise is addicting? Nah…”

  1. Hilly says:

    Exercise is very addictive. I find myself turning to it more and more these days…it’s like, as soon as something goes wrong, I run to working out. Wait ummmm, who said that? 😉

  2. Holly says:

    Um….did they write this article about me?? I am going through the EXACT same thing as you. The thing is, I’ve tried other forms of cardio (walking, biking, swimming, the elliptical) and none of it compares to running for me. I’m trying to do the best I can do until my knee gets better, but mentally it is just difficult for me.

    One thing that helped me is starting to strength train. Never, EVER in a million years did I think I would like it! I think that’s because I’m naturally pretty weak. 🙂 But let me tell you, it is an amazing feeling just getting stronger week after week. I don’t get the mental clarity from running, but I do get those endorphins going and for the first time in my life, I feel pretty strong!

  3. Amy says:

    I’m feeling that right now. But I don’t think I’m an extreme exerciser…I know people who are, and they also suffer from eating disorders. It’s very sad, but they would workout for 3 hours straight on an elliptical….WAY more than they needed to be doing. And burning WAY too many calories. 🙁

    I just like the endorphins from exercising…they feel so good, even after a short run or lifting for 20 minutes.

  4. diane says:

    I haven’t experienced it, but I believe it happens. I *wish* I could get addicted to exercise!!

  5. Mica says:

    Haha, I don’t think I suffer withdrawal symptoms. I just feel guilty and worry about gaining weight. That’s probably not very healthy. Whoops.

  6. About 8 years ago I had started weight watchers and jogging, and had lost a good amount of weight and was had gotten up to about 5K a day, then my foot started bothering me with some pesky plantar fasciitis (probably butchered the spelling). Anyways, since I couldn’t run, I just lost my mind, gained back all the weight PLUS 20 or so pounds and sat and rotted until January of this year. I have been lucky, and better about stretching, etc, but I am afraid that I will bail again if I can’t run.

  7. ShutupandRun says:

    I think it can be a high, not quite like a drug, but c’mon there could be worse things for you. Seems everything these days is in some way dangerous, right???

  8. Holly says:

    As you know, I do triathlons, and biking was my toughest sport to get in to. Part of the reason is because it just takes so much equipment, flat tires happen, sometimes bike rides are 3+ hours, etc, etc. Having my bike team really helps. But it IS crosstraining! However, I’d say one of the best crosstraining sports for running is actually swimming. Now, this is coming from the girl who skips her swimming workouts cuz she’s lame. BUT many people I’ve talked to — my coach being one of them — said that when they added swimming in, even though at first they hated it, it did two things: 1. made them lose weight they didn’t even know they needed to lose, and 2. made them better/faster runners. I keep trying to remind myself of these facts and drag my butt to the pool…. but I thought maybe you’d like the tip!

  9. I’d say when Im doing really well, it’s addicting, but when I’m not doing it, getting back on THAT roller coaster is tough!

    I love the idea of bike riding. You’ll still get the excercise crack high, but you’ll be nicer to your shins 😀

  10. Erin says:

    I’m more like Mica. I tend to feel guilty and worried when I have to skip workouts. Do those count as withdrawal symptoms?

  11. seriously, i wish that would happen to me. when i miss a day or two (or weeks) I don’t really miss it- I feel guilty rather than in withdrawals.

  12. tori says:

    I am totally going through withdrawal right now. I can’t run/exercise at all for at least 8 weeks from surgery. 8 weeks is a LONG time! Just today I started feeling like I wanted to do some kind of something and then remembered that it could have awful results so I didn’t. But it’s really hard for me to not do something.

  13. claire says:

    Huh, that’d be a definite no for me. Never much been into running though. I’ve worked up to working out most everyday now and I could so easily not do it. Like today, for example. So hot and muggy here, I’m taking the day off. No withdrawal though, the addiction I fight is sloth.

  14. Julia says:

    I definitely think exercise is addicting. At times I find myself craving a run…like 5 hours after I already went for a run. I don’t think I’ve ever felt “withdrawal syptoms” like those characteristic of drug withdrawal when not being able to run, but I am definitely in a better mood when I can and do run than when I don’t.
    This would be an interesting study for students in college, I think.

  15. Bethany says:

    Unfortunately, it’s not something I experience. I wish I did though- I’m so bad at exercising. I’ve even fallen off the Shred wagon!

  16. Susan says:

    I think I’m addicted to exercise because I’m addicted to eating…so it balances out…

  17. kilax says:

    Hilly – Yay for you! I think that is the way it should be 🙂

    Holly – I am struggling with finding another form of cardio too. But, I have been thinking about strength training! I need to develop some sort of plan. Right now, if I stepped in the gym, I wouldn’t know what to do!

    Amy – I don’t think I am an extreme exerciser either. But I miss the endorphins as well. I miss that “I can take on the world!” feeling I have after running for a long time.

    diane – I don’t think you have time in your schedule to! You know what I mean? 😉 I was struggling with that to begin with, and even though I felt crazy busy, I still miss it.

    Mica – I bet it’s very common though. That is what I am thinking right now.

    Hotch Potchery – That is what I am afraid of too. I’ve had to force myself to go to the gym this week to use the bike and elliptical.

    ShutupandRun – Ha! It does seem that way! I do know people who seem to have let working out take over their lives. It’s easy to let that be your focus all the time.

    Holly – I have been wanting to try swimming! I am just looking for a good pool… that I can afford! My budget is kind of at $0.00 right now 😉 But I bet that would strengthen my core muscles!

    Scale Warfare – Yeah… once you are off for a long time, it is HARD to get back on! LOL! I am hoping to make my bike operational this weekend.

    Erin – Probably not the guilt or the worry. But if you are obsessing over it, maybe!

    Gina (Mannyed) – Maybe the withdrawal happens over a longer period of time. Because we all need a rest day or two every once in awhile!

    tori – 8 weeks is a WAY LONG TIME!!! UGH! I feel so bad for you. Can you walk or anything? Can you even sit in a pool?

    claire – Ha ha. When it is muggy, I feel so blah about working out. Usually when it is raining too!

    Julia – Oh yeah, this would be good for college students. They have a lot of time to work out. Then the study should follow them into the real world when they struggle to get exercise in!

    Bethany – It’s easy to fall off of THAT wagon 😉

    Susan – Ha! I am also addicted to both 😉 So it’s very hard when I can’t balance it with running!

  18. […] and running 3x a week.  Since I got strep, I started up the yoga again, and I love it.  Kim had a post up recently about getting addicted to exercise, and yoga is about the closest I can come to a form of exercise […]

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