Study Reveals that Instead of Promoting Mental Health, Running Could Result in Exercise Dependence


eMediNexus    27 January 2023

According to a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, the signs of exercise dependence are common even in recreational runners. Recreational running has many positive effects on both physical and mental health, but some people might become addicted to physical activity and develop exercise dependence, which can have negative health effects. To further comprehend the connection between running, well-being, and exercise reliance, the researcher looked into the idea of escapism.


The lead author of the study, Dr. Frode Stenseng of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway, explained that escapism is a common human behavior, but little is known about its motivational roots, how it shapes events, and its psychological effects. In other words, many of our routine activities might be considered forms of escapism.


The research team enlisted 227 recreational runners for the study, with roughly equal numbers of men and women and a wide range of running styles. Participants were required to complete questionnaires that looked into three different facets of escapism and exercise dependence, such as satisfaction with life scale intended to gauge participants′ subjective well-being, an exercise dependence scale, and an escapism scale that measured preference for self-expansion or self-suppression.


Researchers discovered that runners who chose self-expansion and runners who preferred self-suppression styles of escape had very little in common. They also found that self-expansion was linked to well-being positively, whereas self-suppression was linked to well-being adversely.


Both self-suppression and self-expansion were associated with exercise dependence, but the study found that self-suppression was considerably more strongly associated with it. In addition, neither escapism mode was related to age, gender, or the duration of running, but both had an impact on the connection between happiness and exercise reliance. 


(Source: https://blog.frontiersin.org/2023/01/25/using-running-to-escape-everyday-stresses-may-lead-to-exercise-dependence-instead-of-mental-wellbeing/ )

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