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Staying young

Jump for joy

Skipping is one of the latest TikTok health trends to surface in lockdown – the hashtag #jumprope has recently had more than a billion views. “No longer the prerogative of six-year-old girls or professional boxers,” says Katie Russell in the Telegraph, the sport has been transformed by influencers incorporating forms of dance routines. One of the best known is Lauren Flymen, who was furloughed from her job as a sales manager in April last year and now has 369,000 followers watching her fancy footwork. Russell tried it and “kept tripping over the rope and whipping my arms until they were pink”. Persevere and you’ll find skipping burns more calories than jogging and is better for your knees than running.

Too much of a good thing?

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Exercise addiction can ruin lives, says Katherine Cowles in the New Statesman. The “flood of endorphins” released during exercise can induce “a state of euphoria”, or “runner’s high”. It’s a problem that affects up to 7% of people who exercise, although the proportion of runners is much higher – up to 25%. Some people are addicted to exercise for its own sake, others to control their weight.

Exercise addicts can suffer “deep psychological and physical distress”: marriages break down, friendships dissolve, bones are weakened and snapped, menstruation stops. “The prospect of a day without fitness seems like a fate worse than death, certainly worse than chronic injury.” Yet, not only does society downplay the seriousness of overexercise, it actively encourages it. Instagram influencers and adverts “glamourise addiction”, fitness instructors tell us to push “past the pain”. Exercise may be good for you, unlike gambling, alcohol and drugs, but addiction to it can be just as destructive.