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It's very unusual for me to sleep late. Once the light of day starts creeping over the eastern mountains, I'm up and awake and raring to go.

Except this morning.

The plan was to walk three miles before work. Didn't happen. Looks like it's going to be an elliptical workout this afternoon in the air-conditioned comfort of the second floor of the garage. The afternoon temperature will hit the mid-80s and there's a good chance of rain today.

I must say … it felt good to sleep a little longer.

A Facebook friend posted this yesterday:
Short spurts of exercise might benefit some, but others can’t get enough of it. Whether they are running ultra marathons in the desert, obsessed with their gym schedules or replacing drug addictions with intense fitness regimens, many Americans find lengthy, frequent workouts to be as necessary as sleeping and eating. 
Is all this emphasis on exercise healthy, or dangerously compulsive? Can exercise like running be addictive?
I didn't reply because, in my opinion, a daily three-mile walk – while frequent – doesn't qualify as lengthy. As a recovering alky, I've known many who choose to replace bar time with a run and/or workout, and I did that in early sobriety, as well. I've also been a gym rat, but for me, exercise has never been as necessary as eating or sleeping. I've taken it and left it MANY times, for MANY reasons.

That said, I've felt better about myself this year than I have in a long, long time. My plan at Christmas was to walk 1000 miles in 2013, and I'm well on my way to achieving that goal. Many of the comments to my friend's question spoke to the mental-health benefits of daily exercise. There's a lot to be said for releasing endorphins, but I don't think walking at 3.5 mph does that.

The combination of finding a way to eat that gets rid of pain AND pounds combined with regular intentional activity has done a lot for my mental health. If that makes me compulsive, well, so be it.

How about you? What would you say in reply to my friend's question?


wendy said…
I feel like I must reply...

Can exercise be addictive, most likely. Can it replace addiction, probably. Can it get someone through the early stages of recovery from addiction, definitely. (and, I speak from some experience)

Exercise has definitely been more important than eating and sleeping for me at times in my life. That said, it has taken me a long time to find peace with the role of exercise in my life during different stages. People might say I'm still obsessive or compulsive or addicted to exercising, but I think the change in my mindset and the manner in which I use exercise to function is what makes a difference for me.

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