Pantani, Jimenez: Depression Caused by Not Riding?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by gntlmn, Feb 21, 2004.

  1. gntlmn

    gntlmn New Member

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    I am wondering if perhaps a study needs to be done which might link sudden cessation of long term high activity (like cycling training and/or racing) with depression, either by exascerbating an existing mild condition or by downright causing it. I am thinking of this particularly in regards to both Pantani and Jimenez who were both clinically depressed individuals who went from extreme training to none.

    Medical experts on depression suggest that a study might be done to see if there is support for such an hypothesis. See the article published after Pantani's death by a couple of cycling enthusiast doctors http://www.velonews.com/train/articles/5584.0.html

    Have any of you readers/cyclists out there experienced the blues when you have suddenly ceased your normal exercise routine for some reason? I know I get grouchy if I am exercising heavily and then miss a few days. What is your experience?
     
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  2. Beastt

    Beastt New Member

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    I know very little about the situation experienced by Jimenez before his untimely and tragic death. I know only a little more about Pantani's situation and feel that he had many, many reasons for depression to overwhelm him.

    I do find that when weather or some other circumstances force me off the bike I become a less happy individual. I think in my case it has more to do with being sad that I'm not riding or can't ride for whatever reason. There is something to be said for exercise relieving, or at least lessening, stress. If one is already depressed and then discontinues riding or whatever form of exercise they're used to enjoying, I can certainly see where that might make their mental state worse. As for physiological factors which affect attitude I can't even begin to guess.
     
  3. zaskar

    zaskar New Member

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    I wonder if vigorous exersise is just not healthy for a person in the long run several years later.riding @ 90-95 % of max heart rate for several years in normal routine may not be good speacily if the person stops activity, anyone have info regarding that?
     
  4. leif_ericson

    leif_ericson New Member

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    Well it is often said that exercise changes the levels of various chemicals and hormones that affect a person mentally, right?
    If so, it wouldn't suprise me at all if, after years of strenuous workouts, the mind doesn't feel right after quitting. After all those years (of hard riding), I would guess there would be a sort of 'permanent' or 'semi-permanent' change in a balance of chemicals in the brain.
    Similar to coming off of certain drugs after years of use.

    Again, I don't know, but all that sounds possible from what I do know.
     
  5. Beastt

    Beastt New Member

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    Since I don't know, I'll ask those here who might know; did Pantani and Jimenez stop riding altogether or did they just stop competing? Just because a rider retires or is suspended doesn't mean they throw their cycling shoes away and put the bike(s) in storage.
     
  6. gntlmn

    gntlmn New Member

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    Well, I understand that Pantani gained about 15 to 20 kg after finishing a disappointing (for him, anyway) 14th in the Giro last summer. So he must not have been riding much, if at all. And he spent his last week in a hotel room only coming out for meals.

    Jimenez was being treated at a psychiatric hospital for depression and drug addiction when he died of heart failure there at the hospital. I don't think he was riding.

    Both men had depression.
     
  7. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Indeed you're correct - it appeared that Pantani had stopped cycling completely although I read a very interesting letter at
    www.cyclingnews.com (tribute letter to Pantani) where a fan who was Alp D'huez in the 2003, met Pantani (who wasn't invited to take part in the TDF that year) and he was cycling, by himself
    on the opposite side of the Alp D'Huez on the day of the Alp
    D'huez stage.
    (what a sad image in light of what subsequently happened to him : Pantani holds the record for the quickest ascent of the Alpe D'Huez in 38 mins).

    Jimenez effectively left professional cycling in 2001 - Banesto has kept him in contract and there were rumours that he had started
    training again in 2002.
    Banesto tried to encourage him to come back but he informed Banesto that he couldn't do so because, he said, his heart wasn't in cycling anymore.
    (Carlos Sastre is from the same region of Spain as ElChava, and
    Sastre tried to persuade JMJ to come back - again to no avail).

    In relation to depression and cycling, there does seem to be foundation to the theory that cyclists perhaps are prone to depression (look at Graeme Obree, Pantani and ElChava).
    In Obree's case, he makes it clear that cycling was an escape from an abusive parent, in his new book.

    The physical activity of cycling (and running) makes the brain generate hormones which induce a feeling of happiness.
    Long distance runners, like Scotland Liz McColgan have said that
    she became addicted to the feelings of contentedness generated by the chemical release (thus she kept running and running and eventually began overtraining).
     
  8. zaskar

    zaskar New Member

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    Last december the weather was bad for almost 3 weeks and i couldnt ride, after 2 weeks i became sad & depressed even though i had nothing to be sad over. when i finaly got back on my bike i was again happy like a little kid in a candy store. i have heard exceresise is good for the mind but if you cant i guess it may be bad for some, kinda scarey.
     
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