We all know how good it feels to get and stay healthy by exercise, but it may also feel so good that people can wonder if they can get high by working out. Is it safe for you or bad for you if you get high from exercising like you can from drugs?
The short response is that exercising will make you feel high. While getting high from running is not dangerous, as with drugs, you will be harmed while under the influence of this high sensation because you may be less mindful of the possible and actual damage to your body. There’s also the possibility of being addicted to the high that comes with exercising, which can be dangerous.
Benefits of Regular Exercise
So, should we be afraid that we are exercising excessively? Most of the people will say no.
People who don’t exercise always find exercise difficult at first. Only when their strength, endurance, and ability improve do, they feel comfortable during and after exercise.
For those who have developed a daily workout schedule, enjoy working out, and feel fine during and after exercise, the majority of people do not reach the point that exercising too frequently is a problem.
There is a difference in how much gratification people get from exercise, people’s propensity for addiction, and people’s particular neural makeup, and neuroscientists have shown that a loss of stimulation is one of the critical causes of people who start exercising stop.
To strengthen a daily workout schedule, most of us will benefit from walking more and increasing our enjoyment of exercise.
The majority of people should not need to be concerned about being addicted to exercise because they should continue to exercise daily.
Exercise increases the body’s functioning in a variety of ways and has many advantages, including:
- Exercise gives you stamina and improves your tolerance to exhaustion, which means that even if your body works harder when you exercise, you eventually feel less exhausted than you did before you began.
- Exercise strengthens your body, increasing the ability to perform a variety of physical activities and increasing your mobility by reducing the need for assistance with physical tasks.
- Exercise allows you more adaptable, allowing you to participate in a wider range of athletic activities, whether or not they are linked to exercise.
- Exercise increases your stamina, which means you can be physically healthy for long periods without straining or being sore.
- Exercise improves the body’s efficiency at physical activities, allowing you to complete them with less difficulty and feeling less exhausted than if you didn’t exercise daily.
- Exercise lowers the chances of injury like lower back pain.
- Exercise will assist you with weight management and weight loss if you are overweight.
- Exercise lowers the chances of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Exercise lowers the chances of developing type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes).
- Exercise reduces the chances of depression and can help people who are depressed relieve their symptoms.
- Exercise can help to slow down the effects of aging by improving performance in daily tasks.
- Other addictions can be cured with exercise.
- Exercise aids in getting a decent night’s sleep which can aid in the treatment of sleep problems.
So, given such a long list of advantages, what could be the issue with exercise? It seems that the more, the merrier, and you can’t go wrong with that.
This is valid for most of us, however, for those with a personal or family history of addictions, unresolved emotional distress, a history of eating disorders, or those who are especially vulnerable to endogenous opioids—the drug-like substances created by the body—exercising too often may pose a danger.
What Is Runner’s High?
The feeling of well-being that people experience after exercising, also known as euphoria, is a well-known condition known as “the runner’s high.”
The good emotions that people get from exercising can be a wonderful natural way to inspire them to exercise more often and a way to combat stress, reduce anxiety, and help people rebound from alcohol and opioid addictions.
The issue stems from the neurological phase of addiction, which can develop in individuals who get a runner’s high and contribute to exercise addiction.
When individuals engage in physical activities such as biking, swimming, or aerobic training, they experience the runner’s high. It’s triggered by changes in the body and brain that happen during exercise, which is close to what happens when people take prescription medications like heroin. Researchers have discovered that endogenous opioid development occurs during vigorous aerobic activity, which may seem far-fetched.
As the body’s endorphins are involved in inducing all forms of addiction, the physical mechanisms of opioid use disorder and exercise addiction might be similar to what you thought.
The euphoria you get while exercising and afterward is not negative. Though “runner’s high” is a popular term, similar feelings can occur in other types of aerobic exercise.
The runner’s high is similar to the high people get by consuming prescription medications in that it is exhilarating, relaxing, and relaxed. If you get a runner’s high, you can lose the ability to feel pain or become “comfortably numb.” Even if this does not represent reality, you will have an incredible feeling of well-being.
And if you know the physical activity is causing complications, you can want to exercise. E.g., you may not be distracted about being too hot or cold, and you might even have the impression that these things don’t matter because you’re invincible, that you have extraordinary strength and durability, and that you can do everything.
Of course, these physical factors do matter—people who get high on heroin and those who get high on exercise are often susceptible to being sick due to being over-or under-heated or from the complications that pain prompts them typically to treat.
People who have experienced a runner’s high have been known to continue exercising or participating in sports even after suffering severe injuries such as broken bones. They didn’t know they were hurting at the moment, or it didn’t seem to matter.
The Science Behind Runner’s High
Scientists also investigated the runner’s high in an attempt to further explain the opioidergic processes of the runner’s high in the human brain, as well as the association between these drug-like compounds, which exist naturally in the bloodstream, and the euphoria or high that people feel while they exercise vigorously.
Researchers discovered a connection between the amount of opioids in the brain and the mood of athletes. During a workout, the level of euphoria was slightly higher. The results of this study back up the “opioid myth” of the runner’s high and point to region-specific effects in frontolimbic brain regions involved in cognitive processing and mood.
According to research, people who work out excessively are subjected to elevated drug-like opioids in their brains, resulting in a powerful high. They want to work out excessively, and they want to relive the sensation.
Signs of an Exercise Addiction
It’s OK to enjoy physical activity. It is, in effect, welcomed. Most of the way, this will not hurt you and will benefit you greatly. It’s also OK to see how you can improve your technique or succeed in whatever activity or type of exercise you’re doing.
When exercise becomes the primary goal in life, it becomes challenging to get gratification from it.
If you love working out, you can also enjoy other facets of your life. Suppose exercise is the only thing you like doing (apart from other addictive habits like sex, eating, working, watching TV, and, of course, drinking and taking drugs). In that case, you might be relying too hard on the high you get from it at the expense of other aspects of your life.
Do you have a vibrant social and family life? If your gym partners are the only ones you love spending time with, you might be going too far. This is especially true if you’re aware that you have issues in your primary relationships, such as with your parents, wife, or children, but you’re not fixing them because you’re too focused on withdrawing into exercise.
Ask yourself the following questions if you’re worried about the risk of developing an exercise addiction:
1: Do you believe you wouldn’t be able to function without the high you get from working out?
2: Can you feel sad or guilty if you have to postpone running, either because you have other interests or because of a physical condition or injury?
It’s worth noting that there are a variety of other factors that can lead to excessive exercise. Excessive activity is also common in people who have eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia, and it can develop with sugar addiction.
Coping with Exercise Addiction
Keep track of how often and where you workout, as well as the attitude before and after training, and when you are unable to exercise if you suspect you have an exercise problem.
If you notice a habit of using running for a runner’s high that you don’t think you can do without after a week or two, speak to your psychiatrist and share your concerns about the changes in the mood before and after the running.
Your doctor will refer you to a mental health professional who will help you gain control of your fitness and find satisfaction in other areas of your life.