Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is cycling just compensation for Cinnabons?

There's a condition in rats called "anorexia athletica." Some rats with restricted diets take up running in their wheels compulsively--much more compulsively than well-fed rats. Naturally, the rats lose weight.

You'd expect that rats taking in fewer calories would expend fewer calories. But with rats, this is not the case. Give them a wheel, put them on a diet, and all they wanna do is run, run, run.

In one experiment, these compulsively exercising rats exhibited the same symptoms as junkies.

Apparently exercise is similar to heroin, in that it allows us to endure a life bereft of Cinnabons.

But it gets old, being a junkie, running or riding instead of eating. The drug of being on a bike every day starts to wear you down. You feel the miles on the wheels and you wonder if you are really any healthier than the porkers at the Old Country Buffet shoulders-deep in the deep-fryer.

The beauty of cycling is you can pretty much do it as much and as long as you want, like a college student on summer break with nothing to do but play World of Warcraft.

Cyclists and gamers spend about the same absurd amount of time on their addiction. A Harris interactive poll put average video game time per week for teenage boys at 14 hours a week. China views such behavior as so dangerous among its game-addled youth as to merit electroshock therapy. So troubling is the social malaise that even South Park has dedicated an episode to it.

There's a teenaged boy quality to riding a bike that leaves you feeling ill if you do it too much and ill if you don't do it enough. And you can never do it enough.

Then again, it's not only cyclists who do the anorexia athletica thing: Jessica Biel, apparently, exercises 5 hours a day and eats "controlled meal portions."

I'm guessing the editors of this photo have circled and enlarged the selected region because they want us to be aware that there are no Cinnabons there.

As far as guilty pleasures go, one could do worse than riding a bike.

1 comment:

qualia said...

Title is ambiguous. I like it.