“runnorexia”: The Modern Addiction To Running

Going for a run is a very healthy habit, but some people feel ‘hooked’ on running.

The practice of physical exercise produces psychological and physical benefits . The running, namely:  reduces stress, improves cardiovascular capacity, reduces the risk of disease, and so on . Therefore, to have a healthy life, it is advisable that running or practicing physical exercise is part of our lives, as it is an important component of well –  being.

But anything taken to the extreme can be detrimental, and running is no exception. Today, the running fashion leads many people to become obsessed with this practice. Richard Benyo, in an article published in the Road Runners Club of America , affirms that “there is a negative side to the practice of physical exercise that, little by little, insidiously, can replace the positive effect.”

Running addiction is not the same as overtraining

Runnorexia is not the same as overtraining. The obsession with running can lead an individual to train too much, which can cause overtraining. The symptoms of overtraining are short-term, and have to do with the period of recovery and rest. In this sense, it can be said that runnorexia is linked to the  overtraining syndrome.

Runnorexia or addiction to running, on the other hand, is a loss of perspective on the role of physical exercise in a person’s life. While a person may suffer a period of overtraining because a major competition is approaching and they have poorly planned their setup, a person with runnorexia suffers from a more serious problem. In this case, there are important psychological aspects: irrational beliefs, low self-esteem, etc.

In addition to these aspects, social factors are a source of this disorder, since culture and social pressure for aesthetics and image play an important role in the development of this pathology. On the other hand, some experts also affirm that there are biological factors that cause this addiction, since there seems to be a connection between the pleasant chemicals that the brain releases when practicing physical activity (endorphins, dopamine, etc.) and this disorder, as well as it happens with drug addiction . That is,  the brain area of ​​the reinforcement is involved in addictive and obsessive behaviors is also involved in runnorexia.

The psychologist Eduardo Carreño, in an interview for the newspaper Asturias 24 , explains: “There are two types of addictions: addictions to substances (drugs) and to behaviors (addiction to work, shopping, sports, etc.)”. We see, the case of the addiction to going out to run is an addiction to an activity and the pleasure generated by the practice in question.

Symptoms presented by the person with runnorexia

The person with runnorexia overvalues ​​running, making it the most important element in their life, even above family, friends, work, etc.

Able to cancel appointments or skip work in order to go for a run. Fatigue or injuries do not prevent you from performing your training sessions, since the discomfort you feel if you do not do these sessions is greater than it. His free time is dedicated to running, and his life moves with a single idea in mind : running.

The symptoms it presents are identical to those of the addict to any type of physical exercise (for example,  fitness ). These symptoms appear when the person cannot perform physical activity, and can be: anxiety, depression or irritability.

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