Why is exercise addictive?

Why is exercise addictive?

If being active doesn’t constitute an integral part of your day, your marvelling at this title will be nothing short of endless. Talk about confusion with regards to the word ‘addictive’ and why, in anyone’s name, some peeps would be addicted to sports. Of all things. I’ve got you covered, workout pessimists!

Do you love chocolate? What a silly question! Almost everyone adores chocolate. Chocolate admirers are decidedly stronger in numbers than chocolate rejecters (no official data but my very own conviction). And those who don’t share the love? Apologies to you, but this is just abnormal. Grab a piece of chocolate and teleport yourself to heaven. Better?

Endorphins explained

The near universal appreciation for chocolate is not, in fact, magic! It can be explained scientifically. We love chocolate, because it leads to the release of endorphins in the body. Endorphins – it’s no secret – make us joyful and euphoric. Thanks to endorphins, we’re exposed to and feel less stress and pain; endorphins cut the adversary effects of both. It’s not solely the consumption of particular foods – like chocolate and chili peppers – that can increase the levels of those chemicals in the body, however. Endorphin secretion can be encouraged by other means. Physical activities, including sports and bungee jumping, are proved to stimulate the process with equal merit.

Exercise as a happiness catalyst

In a nutshell, when you exercise – and afterwards – you’ll be on an emotional high, for your body will be busy releasing chemicals responsible for a good mood. It doesn’t happen as soon as you jump on the treadmill, of course. It’s not an immediate reaction; that would be way too easy and everyone would be walking around, parading biceps! This is why you have to persevere with your exercise; beyond the fifteenth minute, at least. The exhaustion and physical discomfort you may be experiencing at first will eventually weaken.

In addition, when people engage in exercise regularly, they crave it in a similar fashion exercise skeptics crave chocolate for a pick-up of elation. The body becomes used to the positive properties of exercise and demands it routinely! Working out is addictive, for so is happiness! By the same token, when someone who doesn’t exercise is having the blues, they find themselves searching for the comfort of chocolate. It’s because they don’t participate in activities that can fuel the endorphin secretion that they seek alternative routes. If people make the conscious choice to exercise, they’ll naturally desire chocolate less, since they’ll already be supplying their body – and brain – with endorphins.

What people usually do

But munching on chocolate – be it dark chocolate whose benefits are rapidly recognised within the health and fitness circles – is easier than exercising. Often, it’s not the healthy kind of chocolate people opt for either. It’s the (extra) milk chocolate or, even worse, the ticking sugar bombs of cookies, doughnuts, Snickers bars and muffins. Sitting on a sofa, sugar at a hand’s reach, doesn’t require time, dedication and effort. Exercising does. Both refined sugar and sports will improve your mood and energise you. Yes, you’ll feel more energised after a workout than before! But while the prior will only last a heartbeat and can land you diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol, the latter doesn’t come in with a warning sign. The choice is simple!

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