Too Much of a Good Thing

Posted: January 30, 2012 by jerkmag in CRISP -- health, VAULT -- archives

Hi. My name is Amber, and I’m addicted to exercise.

I’m not kidding. I exercise five to seven days a week, spending no less than an hour (most of the time, two) working it out. And if I ever miss one of those days? Let’s just say, try to stay as far away from me as possible. On those days, I’m just not a person that anyone should subject himself or herself to being around.

I know, I know; this sounds like a slap in the face to people with other addictions. Like I’m invalidating their more commonly known dependences (read: alcohol, nicotine, etc.) in order to gain sympathy for my own. That’s not the case. In fact, I think my addiction is a lesser habit in comparison to those other, much more serious obsessions. But, any type of addiction can turn into a serious matter, and should not be taken lightly.

Exercise addiction is rooted in the biological effects that exercise has on the body. Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins – naturally produced, “feel good” chemicals. Over time, the body can become accustomed to and even anticipate those endorphins, ultimately forming a dependency on those feelings.

In fact, a recent New York Times article claimed that many people with a dependence on exercise function very similarly to those addicted to drugs.  Exercise addicts often experience, “craving, withdrawal, and the need to exercise ‘just to feel normal.”

I know I’m definitely not alone in experiencing this addiction, (yes, best friend who will remain nameless, I’m talking to you), so if you’re worried that you, too, could be an exercise addict, here are some symptoms of physical activity dependency, thanks to

– Feeling sore has become a daily occurrence.

– Your resting heart rate is higher than usual.

-You’re always tired, even when getting enough sleep at night.

-Headaches. Lots and lots of headaches.

-You’re always getting sick.

-Working up a sweat just doesn’t interest you anymore.

-Your emotions are all over the place.

-Your performance and stamina has greatly decreased.

—Amber Brenza

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