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Ultra exercise can be addicting, new research study finds

Posted Aug 28 2009 5:49pm

Humanrat Alright, please listen up all of you Ultra types and that especially includes you Eddie Izzard as you run your 40 marathons in about as many days: a new study found (and you probably already know this) that excessive (read ultra) exercise can be addicting just like heroin and other drugs.

"Excessive running shares similarities with drug-taking behavior," the researchers wrote in the August issue of Behavioral Neuroscience, published by the American Psychological Association.

And how did they figure out that exercise is addicting?

Using rats and a wheel of course.

According to Science Daily researchers took 44 male and 40 female rats and allowed them to either run in exercise wheels or remain inactive.

After which they injected the test rats with naloxone, a medicine for heroin overdose that produces immediate withdrawal symptoms.

And guess what, "The active rats showed withdrawal symptoms like those seen in narcotics addicts: trembling, writhing, teeth chattering, and drooping eyelids."

In fact the rats that exercised the most showed the most severe withdrawal symptoms.

"As with food intake and other parts of life, moderation seems to be the key. Exercise, as long as it doesn' t interfere with other aspects of one' s life, is a good thing with respect to both physical and mental health," said lead author Robin Kanarek, PhD, of Tufts University.

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