Featured Article: Is Strava more addictive than Cocaine?

Probably not.

But maybe, yes? A quick google search will reveal that Cocaine is the second most addictive substance on Earth, second only to Heroin. That’s a pretty high bar. Are people willing to go to the lengths Ewan McGregor went to for a hit in Trainspotting, but instead for some Kudos?

Maybe?

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Social media addiction is well documented. The dangers are well known – we’ve all seen the words Social media seriously harms your mental health stuck on the back of every instagram hottie with 3,000ish followers’ phone – keep fighting the good fight, insta hotties.  

For those who have never heard the word cadence before and have hobbies other than running long distances at gradually increasing speeds, Strava is a social media platform in which people post a recap of their exercise – usually running or cycling. The twisted difference between Strava and other platforms is users give each other Kudos instead of Likes. That and the fiery competitive spirit it fosters when you get home from a run feeling pretty good about yourself, only to realise your best mate ran 5k further and did it in 2 minutes less that same evening!  Strava addiction is documented but not as well known. Another quick google search reveals many people are afflicted with this incredibly first world problem. Perhaps the insta hotties need to spice it up in the sticker department, I’m thinking something like Strava will give you shin splints.

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Although comparing social media to cocaine isn’t quite apple to apples, they both hit you right in the Dopamine receptors – giving you a little tickle each time you demolish a 10k, or a line off the back of your mate’s phone. Much like our scabby forearmed Ewan McGregor comparing Methadone to Heroin we can compare Strava and Cocaine on a hit to hit basis.

Addiction works on a relatively basic principle, the bigger the Dopamine hit the more likely you are going to enjoy that sweet, sweet tickle and come back for round two. Each tickling comes at a cost though, as you build a tolerance with each Dopamine hit. This means you have to steadily increase the amount of whatever you’re doing to release the same amount of Dopamine. That my friends, is how an innocent 5k can turn into an ultra-marathon or how a cheeky key can lead to the mountain of cocaine on Tony Montana’s desk in the last scene of Scarface. It’s a slippery slope.

It seems to me that the most effective way to measure addictiveness would be to compare how far an individual is willing to go to fuel their addictions. Agreed? Well, you don’t really have a choice.

In the cocaine corner, coming in as an overwhelming favourite, with a record of countless murders, several double-crossings and one crumbled drug empire – Tony Montana!

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And representing the Strava addicts we have your everyday Joe who one year ago couldn’t run 5k without doubling over but is now gearing up for his first marathon and just titled his last 10k Strava post Rolling the legs over.

For those who haven’t seen Scarface, over its glorious 170 minutes runtime we witness Mr Montana’s transformation from Cuban refugee to the top dog of the nose beers game. In the process he accepts a contract to kill someone in exchange for a US passport (necessary for a life of freedom), brutally murders several Columbian coke dealers with a chain-saw (self-defence), steals Frank Lopez’s lady– the only man to give him a shot (dog eat dog world out there Frank), double crosses Frank by cutting a deal with a rival drug lord Sosa behind Frank’s back, kills Frank (less defensible), orders the beating of his sister (indefensible), murders his sister’s husband and his own best pal Manny (I give up) and finally massacres a baker’s dozen of Sosa’s men before karma finally collects.

That’s a pretty impressive resume.

Our average Joe on the other hand has long since given up peeling the ears back on a Friday evening with the boys in favour of an Epson salt bath and nine hours of solid shuteye so he can be in peak form for a Saturday morning effort. His feet look like a dog’s breakfast, yet he continues to send snaps of his outrageous blisters to his mates. Let’s not even get started on Joe’s thigh chafing. You thought he’d started seeing a running bird named Carmen, only to find out it was his Garmin watch he was talking about. And the final straw - just when you thought he had come to his senses; you overhear him talking about some LSD on Sunday only to find out he was talking Long Slow Distance.

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Boy oh boy.

So is Strava more addictive than cocaine?

Absolutely not,

Joe certainly might be ten fold more annoying than Tony, but he has country miles to go before he catches up to the kingpin.

You didn’t really think I was going to say yes did you?  


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