Developing The Healthy Addiction: Exercise

by Kyle Van Pelt

Of the countless addictions possible for humans, there is one predominantly healthy one, but getting addicted to it is not as easy as picking up a cookie or a Juul. This helpful addiction is exercise, especially vigorous exercise. With the correct repetition and observable results, anyone can intentionally addict themselves to working out regularly.

Hardcore physical exertion is extremely hormonal specifically involving dopamine and endorphins, some of the primary hormones released by consuming sugar and drug abuse. The primary difference in hormonal action between exercise and drugs is how they compound over time. While essentially all detrimental addictions cause the largest hormone release upon the first use, exercise works in the exact opposite way: hormonal response is stronger with each passing workout. Thus, if a person can force themselves through the first few painful workouts, then the remainder of them will become satisfying and sometimes even fun. 

The most difficult part of the process of becoming fit is the beginning, simply because exercising is naturally most painful when first starting out.  There are three primary actions to ease this process as much as possible: making a schedule, setting a goal, and stretching. A coherent schedule of at least three sessions of vigorous exercise per week will make workouts manageable and less intimidating. Schedules will help you get around work and maintain time for a social life. Having a goal will make the exercise feel necessary, especially if there is significant difficulty to it, but not a feeling of impossibility. It is still important to make sure a goal is not insurmountable, it could be anything from the level of one’s first full contact sparring match to running their first mile without stopping; goals must be set relative to ability. Surpassing one’s goals is extremely gratifying and will encourage anyone to work harder. Finally, stretching after every workout will take tension out of muscles and allow them to heal. Furthermore, it will calm you down and let you return to everyday life feeling refreshed and slightly stronger than you were the previous day.  

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