Addicted to exercise?

Times online raised an interesting topic a few days ago. And as I am surrounded by triathletes almost all day long, I think it may be of interest to reflect some of the problems of exercise addiction. The endurance movement is increasing steadily. More and more amateurs perform the most extreme endurance races one can imagine. Charity has become one of the major motivations to do so beside beauty and body shape.

Times quotes Dan Martin, 28. He soon is going to embark on an awe-inspiring 18-month global triathlon — swimming, cycling and running round the world. On May 8 he will wade into the sea off Nova Scotia, eastern Canada, and swim 3,500 miles to Brest, northwestern France. From there he will cycle by way of Siberia to Uelen, the most easterly settlement in Russia. By the end of 2011 he hopes to have completed the equivalent of a marathon a day, running from Russia to New York.

The £200,000 cost of his trip is being funded by corporate sponsorship, although any donations will go to his charity, the Dan Martin Foundation. This is only one of many examples. My friend Gregor Komescher is venturing out for the race across America, a similar breath-taking challenge. He is training almost day and night, he trains to cope with fatigue and tiredness, sometimes he suffers, but he fulfills himself a dream that makes him ready to suffer more.

So why do these people do it?

By the way, studies say that 1% of endurance athletes are exercise dependent or even addicted.

Perhaps the answer to this question is easier to give by looking at the condition of people are in, if they stop the work-out. How do they feel if they don’t exercise? “Empty, grim and restless, pretty bad”, most of the “victims of endurance” say. Important to mention, for many of these athletes it is not about loosing weight and being thin. It is about getting the ultimate kick, escaping boredom and routines, about feeling good and invigorated. But it may happens that this body feeling turns into suffering, but even that is better than refraining from exercise and plunging into emptiness. Preliminary suffering may end up in chronic pain and frail health.

The stress overload may affect the immune and autonomic nervous system and lead to bone fractures, muscle ruptures, recurrent infections or over-training. Hence a third of marathon runners become ill after a race. Continuous strain on the body induces among others the release of high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes problems for circulation and the nervous system.

It is well known and you may have experienced it yourself, that exercise dependence makes you feel that you must exercise every day. If prevented from doing so, you may suffer anxiety, mood swings and headaches. Thoughts such as “If I don’t exercise today I will loose my fitness”, make keep you going every day, even though you are in pain. Hence, they may also exercise when injured.

While drug dependence sets in within weeks, exercise dependence takes about two years to develop. One possible explanation for the “addiction” over time, may be the fact that intense exercise elevates levels of dopamine, one of the neurotransmitters that the brain uses to create the feeling of pleasure. The same is said applies to endorphins. The causal explanation of the phenomenon is definitely complex and difficult, and up to now not really elucidated by scientific data. A drop of levels within the complex array of substances  that induce pleasure may induce a condition of distress.

Generations of people did physical labor as a job. They didn’t use their leisure time to exercise. They were tired and exhausted when coming home. Times have changed, many of us come home from their offices and feel they want get some fresh air and relax their minds from the daily stress. This how the endurance story starts an easy jog is only the beginning ….

Quoted from Times: “So great is the demand for a challenge that many events become booked up within hours of being announced. About 100,000 people took part in triathlons alone in the UK last year. But it’s crucial to be properly prepared and to let your body recover afterwards. Training takes months, and if it starts to affect the balance of your life, it’s time to reconsider. Performance-orientated exercise taken to excess, could be harmful. Endurance athletes do not appear to lengthen their lives significantly through exercise, reaching only average life expectancy, if that.”

Biestmilch is a wonderful substances to support not only your immune system to keep the balance. If you go into the modern literature, nobody doubts anymore that there is no performance without proper immunity. Trust biestmilch, it do a lot for you.



Susann is the biest prototype and head of the team. She is Austrian, has studied medicine, meaning she is a medical doctor and the Biesters' alpha wolf. Susann continuously produces new ideas, is strong in making concepts and is practically always ON FIRE. Without her BIESTMILCH wouldn't be where and what it is today, and anyway - not possible.

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1 Comment

  1. “Hence a third of marathon runners become ill after a race. Continuous strain on the body induces among others the release of high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes problems for circulation and the nervous system.

    This is not true…..
    I am a marathon runner for over 30 years and do not get ill after my races and so my experience with many runners.
    I can remember at a time of very competitive competition that my chest was sore, but it healed within a day or three. Only once or twice did it turned into a cold or Bronchitis. Take care and stay healthy

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