Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Running is a Drug

Running is a Drug

Quick lap on the 12K loop: Twin Bridges, Ice Hill, Tunnel Hill, Upper Chickadee, Blue Sky, Twin Bridges. Time was 1:13. No residual issues from Saturday's race. Thinking back, I went into the race a bit dehydrated and could have used about 400 more calories during the race, but the main issue was the heat. Living in WP we don't get a lot of chances to train in heat (although this summer has been hot), and that will be something I will have to figure out. Good thing the heat season is pretty much over, and I don't have to worry about heat issues until next year.

A new study just published posits that not only is exercise or running good for you, but in fact can act like a psychoactive drug. As the authors note: "Special attention must be paid to the psychological effects of exercise. These are so powerful that we would like to propose that exercise may be considered as a psychoactive drug. In moderate doses, it causes very pronounced relaxing effects on the majority of the population, but some persons may even become addicted to exercise." I would have to agree. In fact, I published an article back in 2004 that discussed psychophysiological aspects of ultrarunning and some of the various "altered states of consciousness" that can arise. These altered states follow similar neurological and psychological pathways in the body and brain as many psychoactive drugs (peyote, datura, ayahuasca, etc.). So, it comes are no real surprise that others are postulating that exercise can act similarly, including some of the various negative associations such as addiction. I don't know if I would say I am "addicted", but along with my daily coffee and beer, I need (perhaps not the best word) my daily exercise.

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