By Andreas Cahling
When we think of addictions it usually has a negative connotation. How many addicts do you know? Usually taking a look in the mirror will reveal the first addict we know – ourselves. Let’s face it, most of us are addicted to various substances and things in life, some more easy to admit and acknowledge than others. Many of us become addicted to sugar at an early age and move on to becoming addicted to caffeine, nicotine and alcohol as the years go by. And if we are not addicted to substances we might get addicted to certain activities like gambling, sex, fashion or spending time with certain people.
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(I am addicted to working out and wearing ridulous outfits for photo shoots. Anything for a page view.)
I always knew that I did not feel well mentally or physically without satisfying my most deeply entrenched addiction. Without getting my mostly daily fix of exercise produced, known and unknown substances cascading through my biological system, my life would appear somewhat grey and depressing with life’s minor problems growing in size to intimidating proportions.
I started exercising with weights at age 12 and never stopped. Today at age 56 I find myself with the best motivator in the world for not missing out on my brief but intense visits to the gym. I am hopelessly addicted to the wellbeing produced by Bodybuilding and Weight Training. This is an addiction probably no rehab in the world could fix and neither would I like to get rid of this, in my mind, most positive addiction. I think we tend to underestimate the addictive properties of various substances produced in our bodies during exercise. I believe that they are on par with many powerful drugs in their addictive capacity. So here we have an opportunity to turn the phenomena of human addiction into something, which has a huge potential benefit for so many people on this earth.
When I left my native Sweden for California more than 32 years ago, the whole gym and Weight Training thing was somewhat of a fringe activity with very few participants. Today, while again spending some time in Scandinavia and the country, which housed my cradle, I find gym training having more participants than any other sports activity in Sweden. Neither Ice hockey nor Soccer is pulling the numbers of the collective gym community in Sweden. Of course many of today’s ice hockey and soccer players as well as other active and formerly active athletes in every sport and age category adds to these amazing statistics as well. Everybody seems to be doing it. It is the new National Pastime. It seems to me that this is positive proof of the extremely addictive qualities of Weight Training and the other varied forms of exercising found in our modern gym and fitness environment.