Have you ever felt really guilty, even stressed out about missing your workout? We’ve all been there. When life or an injury gets in the way of your fitness goals, it can cause anxiety, guilt and even depression — some label this as “exercise withdrawal.”
According to Psychology Today, exercise works in the brain much like opiates. A high-intensity workout triggers the release of neurotransmitters known as endocannabinoids that ease pain, cause pleasure and create a desire for more exercise in people. While it can take you to your “happy place,” you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you delay or stop exercising. (Researchers theorize this is how exercise becomes addictive.) Symptoms can include shaking, depression and fatigue. While it's fine (and healthy!) to give your body a break, making it a habit will not do you any favors. And it definitely should not evoke strong physical symptoms like shaking.
OK, so you took a few steps back in your workout routine. No biggie, you just have to brush it off and get back into it. Not feeling motivated? Sometimes you need to “Just Do It.” That means forcing yourself to get out the door. A new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder shows that even when you are forced to exercise — you know, when your friend begs you to come along on her run — it may help reduce anxiety and depression just the same as when you actually want to exercise.
Here are more ways to help you get your groove back: