Recently I noticed, when I talk about my workouts to others, I have been explaining it as an addiction. I never have to find the motivation to work out- I always want to! So I spent some time researching why I feel this way.
I learned that when you exercise, your body recognizes the elevation in heart rate and pressure, and thinks you are in some type of danger, so it produces a protein called BDNF (Brain derived Neurotrophic Factor) as well as endorphins. The BDNF acts like a reset button, and repairs and protects your memory neurons. This causes us to feel peaceful and happy after exercising. Endorphins are a chemical released to fight stress, their job is to block pain and create euphoric feelings. Both of these are addictive sensations. Recently Penn state published a study regarding the frequency of workouts related to overall happiness. It showed that people need to work out that day to feel happy. The stimulus needs to be very recent. A person’s mood significantly improves after exercising, and moods stayed the same on non-workout days. The calm/happy feelings deteriorate over time with each non workout day. This is probably why I feel the need to work out every day.
My body is craving that good feeling from working out, it is addicted to the BDNF and endorphin release! So there it is, I am addicted to working out!
-Coach Kristin Schulte
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