Thursday, October 1, 2009

Workout Warriors and Heroin Addicts Not Too Dissimilar, Say Researchers

(NaturalNews) According to researchers from Tufts University, the sense of euphoria people experience during rigorous exercise sessions produces hormones similar to those produced by people addicted to opiates.

Tufts University researchers discovered this after breaking up a group of 85 male and female rats into four smaller groups. All of them were given a drug that produced withdrawal symptoms similar to those experienced by heroin addicts (e.g. anxiety, restlessness, agitation, etc.). While all of them were given this drug, only some of the groups were given an opportunity to exercise. So some rats raced their hearts away in their little rat wheel, while the other group had no such outlet.

After several weeks of observation, the researchers came away with findings indicating that exercise and opiate use produce similar neurotransmitters in the brain, both stoking feelings of pleasure and reward. Further, the withdrawal symptoms observed were the most pronounced among the rats that could exercise all they wanted.

The study was published in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience.

As the researchers themselves said, this finding could serve heroin addicts well. Instead of getting their "fix" through opiates, they can use exercise to help replace those feelings of pleasure, minus the health hazards.

There`s a big "BUT" to point out, though: Anything in excess is bad - including exercise. Exercise in excess is a health hazard.

Though it may sound foreign, exercise addiction is something millions of people suffer from. It`s a disordered way of thinking called hypergymnasia and it`s almost always associated with anorexia. For people with this disorder, there`s no such thing as moderation in exercise; there`s no such thing as "rest": It`s full tilt, full time.

It goes without saying, but rest is every bit as important as exercise. Just as the body needs regular exercise, it also needs regular rest to properly recover from the stresses exercise puts on the body. By not giving the body enough time to heal and recover, muscles break down, the risk for injury runs greater, and overall performance diminishes (e.g. Not being able to lift as much due to muscle depletion, endurance levels dropping due to fatigue, etc.).

If any of this sounds familiar in your own actions or those of someone you know, it`s important to talk to a professional counselor. Hypergymnasia is often a function of a multitude of factors happening in a person`s life (e.g. low self-esteem, increased stress levels at home or at work) and talking it out with a trained professional can be a huge help in overcoming exercise dependency.

Remember, exercise is important and helps improve the quality of life, but exercise is not fundamental to life or our overall happiness. Happiness is learning to accept the inner you.

Source - www.naturalnews.com

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