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There's a machine at the gym where you lie on your stomach and lift a weighted lever by your ankles until your feet are near your buttocks. It works a major muscle in the backs of your legs, which I think is called the biceps femoris. A funny thing happens when I do that exercise: I feel a distinct euphoria. Call it a high if you will. No other weight machine gives me that same feeling.

Now combine this with my observation that people who are addicted to apparently boring sports such as swimming or running tend to have extra large biceps femoris and you have my newest hypothesis: Could the euphoric feeling that comes from working that particular muscle be the reason some people need to run ten miles a day?

Obviously people who exercise a lot will have larger muscles than people who don't. And it's no big secret that exercise makes people feel better in a number of ways. All I'm adding to the mix is the thought that perhaps that particular muscle is more responsible for athletic addiction than others.

I think you'd find that addictive sports are either intellectually challenging (golf, baseball, etc.), or they work the biceps femoris muscle, such as running, biking, and swimming.

I recently joined an indoor soccer team. It exercises the biceps femoris muscles, but it also requires a lot of thinking to make the right passes and plays. Indoor soccer is a fast game, mentally and physically, because you're never far from the ball. My theory predicts that this would be more addictive than most sports. I can attest that it is in fact insanely addicting. I've never experienced anything quite like it. I can see why soccer is the most popular sport in the solar system.

I wonder if the world would be a nicer place if everyone exercised their biceps femoris muscles and experienced its euphoria. A sentence you never hear on the news is "He was a marathon runner and a serial killer."
 
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Jan 25, 2010
my neighborhood peeping tom runs ten !$%*! a day. he's hard to catch, so that must be the benefit that he gets from exercise.
 
 
Mar 30, 2009
Your biceps femoris theory sounds interesting and is amusing. But I gues, the euphoria this machine gives you have got nothing to do with your biceps femoris. I think the pleasure comes from your testicles getting rubbed contantly by your muscles. :)
 
 
Mar 30, 2009
@rtfm

handegg?
 
 
Mar 30, 2009
@rtfm

handegg?
 
 
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Mar 30, 2009
To follow callcopse's words of "Soccer, or football as we know it anywhere else". Outside the US, it is only known as football - given the game is about using your feet to control the ball. Methinks you all need to come join us by calling the sport the name for what it is..... Football. Perhaps someone else can suggest a new name for what everyone outside the US calls "American football." We all use the word Rugby to define a game where teams handle an oval shaped ball and ruck for position - although, it is of course played without body armour and crash hats!
 
 
Mar 27, 2009
Check it out: a fitness blogger made almost the same point this week:

http://www.malepatternfitness.com/2009/3/24/809245/deadlift-and-row-your-way

"But maybe--and here's my way-out theory--doing deadlifts and rows will actually make us happier and feel more capable, because they fire up the muscles that make us face the world and help us move into it."
 
 
Mar 27, 2009
You have a point about indoor soccer, but have you ever tried indoor (box) lacrosse? Once my hockey career ended (injury) I started playing lacrosse again. I love the field game, but I recently got into the box game and it is a blast. As for the muscle, I have worked that one alot at the gym (and I still skate whenever I get the chance). I can't say I get any better feeling from working that muscle over any other, but it is one of the largest, so maybe that's what you're feeling.
 
 
Mar 27, 2009
http://www.exrx.net/Muscles/Hamstrings.html
 
 
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Mar 26, 2009
Golf and basketball are intellectually stimulating? When did that happen?
 
 
Mar 26, 2009
All I know is, I used to run 2.5 !$%*! 4 times a week (before I hurt my knee). Every time it felt like I was going to die, and soon. I only felt good about myself after the fact.
 
 
Mar 26, 2009
I disagree that runners develop bigger muscles - rather, the cardiovascular system gets more efficient in supplying these muscles with oxygen and removing wastes.
 
 
Mar 26, 2009
You could be on to something here - this might be why I've never shied away from leg exercises in the gym even though so many other types of exercise make me feel like I'm in a Russian prison camp in 1983.
I was told once that leg workouts are good for increasing testosterone levels, which might give an improved mood over time, but I'm not sure what gives the immediate rush. I love to do power cleans in the gym, which heavily involve the hamstrings (is it okay if I still call them that?) and lower back. I guess I never tried to understand why I like them, I was just relieved to have an exercise that I didn't hate.
Maybe some of us are just wired differently - ever notice weightlifters in the gym with huge upper bodies, but skinny chicken legs? Obviously they're not getting the same rush from the leg workout that I am.
 
 
Mar 26, 2009
If you think about it, a marathon running serial killer could get a lot done in a day! Grim thought of the day there, sorry...
 
 
Mar 26, 2009
By the way... I have a Dilbert cartoon that I would like to use in a presentation to a group of auditors regarding security.... who do I need to talk to regarding permission to use the cartoon?? Tnx

Steve
 
 
Mar 26, 2009
There are many people who experience 'runners high' or 'get pumped' while lifting weight. It would make lots of sense that people who work out frequently with much intensity get off on some form of physical high. Obviously some are more susceptible than others. I would imagine it works in a similar way to the people who really get off on eating and become fat.
 
 
Mar 26, 2009
@webgrunt

Soccer, or football as we know it anywhere else, is the most popular sport in the world by any definition - watched, played or revenue generating. I believe basketball is getting popular in the east but still has a long way to go. I guess people anywhere can improvise a game in almost any !$%*!$%*!$%*! - no special requirements.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_most_popular_sport_in_the_world

 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 26, 2009
I get it too - but it makes me feel...discomforted so I avoid that particular exercise. I've never experienced it with any other similar exercise (including badminton which tends to use it) so I didn't link it to a muscle but perhaps rather the bladder or something about lying on the stomach. Since no-one else has ever mentioned it, I thought it was unique to me. But since you are amle, I guess we can safely rule out a whole lot of organs in the lower abdomen!

It's not in any way related to the endorphins or a runners high. It's a completely physical feeling.

I think anything you are good at produces a high.
 
 
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Mar 26, 2009
Theres a muscle in the jaw that produces the exact same effect (a similar half cooked theory on why people chew gum after it looses its taste). Only it works for more people.
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 25, 2009
It could be evolution telling you, if you work out those muscles, you'll have a better chance of getting your genes/memes out there. It probably depends on what your strengths/weaknesses are and what's popular at the time. Me thinks.
 
 
Mar 25, 2009
There may be something to this. I was watching a show on techniques for being better in bed (ahem, not that I need it), and one of them was to apply pressure to your partner's biceps femoris while uh..stimulating his..uh. Well, you get the idea. Apparently, from the reaction on the screen, the result was euphoric.
 
 
 
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