Is it possible to become addicted to sports, or How to run 50 marathons in 50 days
August 18, 2017
If physical exercise in terms of its effect on the brain is somewhat similar to drugs, and this has been proven, a natural question arises: “Is it possible to become addicted to them as well?” I am asked about this all the time, and the answer here is “Yes.” But don’t worry. Why, says a psychiatrist and author of Light Yourself! John Raty. And he gives an example of an amazing person who ran 50 marathons in 50 days.
Get used to good remedies
The danger of becoming dependent on physical exercise threatens only a very small part of people, primarily girls with signs of anorexia, owners of dysmorphism, as well as mental disorders associated with painful perception of their appearance. In the course of training, they begin to eat less, and during exercise they experience mild euphoria and excitement, which only intensify the vicious cycle.
For a very short time, these people get high spirits, and this allows them to think that they look good. Unfortunately, they do not achieve the desired result. However, for the overwhelming majority of those engaged in exercise, such a “trap” seems to be something very distant.
Even for those who are strongly attached to physical activity and sports, there is no cause for concern.
I can’t think of a better example of someone with an addiction to sports than super marathon runner Dean Karnazes, a 44-year-old American who has featured on the covers of many magazines. Here is his story.
50 marathons in 50 days
Karnazes is known for his mind-blowing achievement, covering 50 marathons in 50 days (across 50 different states). He is also famous for running 560 kilometers without stopping.
For me, these feats are only slightly inferior to another fact of the sports biography of Karnazes: over the past 15 years, he has not trained and has not participated in competitions for only three days. “I got the flu,” Dean recalls. – Still not fully recovered, I said to myself: ‘To hell with him, I need to run!’ ”Among other things, this act speaks of the incredible strength of his immunity.
- By the way, MIF member Renat Shagabutdinov regularly runs marathons and ultramarathons. Read how he prepares for them and what he advises for those who run at least a little.
On the day of his 30th birthday, Karnazes found himself in a bar heavily drunk. It was at that moment that he decided to change his fate. He stumbled home, grabbed a pair of old sneakers and ran off into the night for a distance of 50 kilometers. He was not an alcoholic and never tried drugs.
But my question is: does he have an addiction to sports?
“Perhaps in 10-20% of my thoughts I think of running as my addiction,” says Karnazes. – From the lessons I crave to get a feeling of happiness and completeness, which cover me in the final of the distance. It brings a sense of fullness to life. Interestingly, such a thirst fills me precisely in those moments when I cannot exercise. When I’m traveling or in business meetings, I feel the urge to run overwhelm me. Sometimes I think: “What am I doing here, ready to explode?” It seems to me that at such moments I literally get out of my skin! And then I understand that the body just yearned for movement. From time to time it seems that I am shackled hand and foot. “
Born to run
Karnazes doesn’t have a week for a week, but usually he runs 3-4 hours daily, covering up to 150 kilometers a week. In other words, he moves more in a day than most Americans in a week. It scares people. Karnazes is easy to portray as an eccentric, and many do so.
But when you talk to Dean, you understand that, despite the great need for time for training, he leads a generally quite harmonious life.
He worked for a large Fortune 500 corporation for ten years and then became president of an organic food company. Only recently has he moved into professional sports and literature (his book Ultramarathon Man became a bestseller).
Dean has two children, 7 and 9 years old, with whom he finds time every evening. And in the morning, Dean drives them to school. Usually Karnazes gets up at 3 am after 4–5 hours of sleep and begins his workouts, so that when they are finished, take the children to class.
“By this point, I’ve built my daily routine around running, so overall I’m able to maintain the required level of physical activity,” says Karnazes. – Apparently, it can be called addiction. I don’t know, I never went to psychoanalysts.
I listen to myself. And very happy.
I don’t have to use drugs or drop into a bar every night after work. Sport is essentially the best drug, right? It works like a drug for me and does not have the slightest harmful side effect. “
What’s the conclusion? Curious. Raty writes: “I’m not suggesting that you copy Dean Karnazes’s lifestyle, but if you’re addicted, it’s okay to pick up some kind of constant physical activity.” It seems that this will not hurt anyone and never. Try it. It can change your whole life.
Based on materials from the book “Light yourself up!”
Post cover: pexels