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

Possible Mechanisms for Suppression of Testosterone Concentrations with Long Term Exercise

In female athletes menstrual disturbances have been found in association with lower bone density particularly at trabecular sites.Furthermore, stress fractures seem to be more common in women with amenorrhoea or oligomenorrhoea with a relative risk that is between two to four times greater than that of their eumenorrhoeic counterparts. There are few studies investigating the relation of testosterone levels to bone density and stress fracture risk in young male athletes. A recent case report described the clinical features of a 29-year-old male distance runner who presented with a pelvic stress fracture, greatly decreased bone density and symptomatic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism." Using this case as an index, the authors hypothesised that exercise– induced hypogonadotropic hypogonadism could be identified in male athletes by the presence of one or more specific risk factors which included the presence of sexual dysfunction, a history of fracture, and the initiation of endurance exercise before age 18 Years.

They compared concentrations of free testosterone and luteinising hormone in 15 male runners with one or more of the above risk factors and 13 runners with none of the risk factors. Only one of the runners in the first group was identified as having primary hypogonadism and there was no significant difference between groups for hormone concentrations. Bone density, however, was not measured in these runners and correlated with testosterone concentrations. From a clinical perspective, it is important to clarify that although some male athletes do present With reduced testosterone concentrations, these concentrations are generally still within the normal range for adult men. Therefore, detrimental effects on bone density may not be as dramatic as those described for women with athletic amenorrhoea in whom oestradiol concentrations are well below normal.

Eating Smart For Your Workout

Lunch-hour or after-work crunches

Split your lunch: eat half a few hours before the workout and finish the rest when you get back to your desk. If you exercise after work, say about 5:30 p.m. or 6:00 p.m., plan a minimeal – perhaps a small bowl of cereal, a piece of whole-grain bread with just a dab of PB&J, or a cup of lowfat yogurt at 3:00 or 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon.

When you’re doing extra exercise – a charity bike ride or a minimarathon fun run, or a long hike, for example – and stay at it for more than an hour, you need to refuel during the event. The human body can store only about an hour’s worth of carbohydrate; it’s in the muscles in the form of glycogen. (See Chapter 8 for further explanation of metabolism.) So if you want to finish the race without dragging yourself over the finish line, you need to eat or drink some form of carbohydrate. A sports drink is one option. A small energy bar works, too.

After an especially long workout, you need to refuel to restore your energy. A small high-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, and lowfat meal is best. Reach for fruit, lowfat yogurt, whole-wheat crackers, or bread.