Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: Exercise Addicts: addicted to this high in order to feel worthwhile.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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In our society, since the days of the ancient Greeks, athletes have been admired, especially the ones who have gone above normal performa...
Susanne Pumper running the LCC Half marathon i...
In our society, since the days of the ancient Greeks, athletes have been admired, especially the ones who have gone above normal performance limits of the human body. However, excessive participation in various physical activities has overtones of addictive behavior. Runners who run over 100 miles a week with unhealed stress fractures or other painful and serious injuries, and who become depressed when they cannot exercise, are now beginning to be considered addicts.
Extreme commitment to athletics, like extreme commitment to work, has had a time-honored place in our society. But that extreme commitment has been shown in some cases to be self destructive and harmful to the individual. According to Yates et al., anorexia and compulsive marathon running are now seen as having similar etiologies. These authors imply that runners, like anorexics, tend to be introverted, compliant, self effacing, unable to express anger, and have low self esteem. They commit themselves to extreme exercise in order to establish identity. Like anorexics, compulsive runners tend to be high achievers from affluent families. The obsession with the activity usually begins at a time of heightened stress. The elevated mood change or "high" experienced by long distance runners is thought to serve as a reinforcer for the behavior. They may become addicted to this "high" in order to feel worthwhile.
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