If exercise is your substance of choice, don’t worry — rats enjoy it, too. A new article on Slate.com talks about the research being done on gym rats, of both the fur-covered and the Lycra-covered varieties. Researchers have known for a few years that lab rats with regular exercise regimes, like running on a treadmill for 90 minutes each day, are less likely to ingest drugs when given the option to do so. Humans are the same way. And the kicker? Scientists figure that both species are less affected by drugs when they’re exercising regularly because exercise affects the body in ways that mimic these substances.
For anyone that claims that dance is their drug, that will probably make a lot of sense.
If you’re like me and the thought of missing a dance class ignites a response bordering on obsessive, you’re probably as glad to hear this as I was. (“It’s physiological! I’m not crazy, I’m subject to biological processes!”) Studies indicated that, although the effects of exercise are much less extreme than drug use, withdrawal symptoms (although not the severity of them) might be similar in both cases. Some of these findings could help explain the anxious feeling that dancers and other athletes experience when they have to miss out on a workout.
Also addressed in the story is the idea of thresholds, which is where it takes more exercise to achieve the same physiological effect as before and is something familiar to athletes. Some interesting species of rats are also discussed, including a variety that, if allowed, will run on a wheel until it is too weak to move. So go easy on that petit allegro, ok? And check out the full article here.