Exercise Dependency Can Lead to Health Issues
We all know that recreational running has several physical and mental health benefits. But there’s another side to it. According to the latest study, some people may even develop exercise dependence. This is a form of addiction to physical activity that can lead to health issues.
The study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, also said that the signs of exercise dependence are common even in recreational runners. Researchers tried to investigate whether escapism can be helpful in having a better understanding of the relationship between running, well-being and exercise dependence.
“Escapism is an everyday phenomenon among humans, but little is known regarding its motivational underpinnings, how it affects experiences, and the psychological outcomes from it,” lead author of the paper Dr Frode Stenseng said. Dr Stenseng works in the Science and Technology department of the Norwegian University.
In simple words, escapism is defined as an activity or a form of entertainment, etc that is helpful in avoiding unpleasant or skipping boring things. Many of the things we do on a daily basis can be interpreted as escapism.
As part of the study, 227 recreational runners were part of the study. Half of them were men and another half were women. They had varying running practices.
They were asked to give responses to some questionnaires which tried to investigate three different aspects of escapism and exercise dependence. This was basically an escapism scale that measured preference for self-expansion or self-suppression, an exercise dependence scale, and a satisfaction with life scale designed to measure the participants’ subjective well-being.
It was found that the overlap between runners who preferred self-suppression and who favoured self-expansion modes of escapism was very little. Also, researchers found that self-expansion was positively related to well-being. On the other hand, self-suppression was negatively related to it.
The study also found that both self-suppression and self-expansion were linked to exercise dependence, but the former was much more strongly linked to it.
The study mentioned that experiencing lower well-being is both a cause and an outcome of exercise dependency. It also said that the dependency may be driven by lower well-being as well as promote it. Also, exercise dependence eroded the potential benefits of exercise.