Exercise addiction and withdrawal

Whether the mechanism for supposed exercise addiction is based on psychological factors (for example, personality types), physiological mechanisms (for example, endorphin dependence) or an interplay between the two has yet to be established. A workshop concluded that much more systematic investigation needs to be conducted before definitive conclusions can be made about exercise prescription.’ For example, a number of cautions were raised, including doubts about whether the syndrome of “exercise dependence” exists at all except as one facet of an eating disorder,’ the danger of confusing exercise adherence with exercise dependence and exercise addiction,’ and that the hypothesis for a “runner’s high” – that is, that exercise releases endorphins which produce physiological dependence “ is still only a hypothesis with little supportive evidence.

  1. Exercise programmes, particularly comprising long term aerobic exercise, seem to have an ameliorative effect on depression, specifically clinical depression
  2. Various exercise programmes, both short and long term, have been shown to reduce anxiety and to improve mood state, whereas response to stress may be enhanced by aerobic exercise
  3. The literature remains rather equivocal in relation to the association between self esteem, the premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and exercise, though women who experience PMS do report positive effects associated with a range of exercise
  4. The relation between exercise and body image is complex, hence caution must be used when exercise is prescribed for those with problems associated with their body image
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