When sports turn into addiction and lead to psychological and physical problems

Some joggers become unable to adapt to reality and may lead to physical and psychological health problems.

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Jogging for self-entertainment and getting rid of daily stress gives many physical and mental health benefits, but some people can develop a problem of dependence on exercise, which is a form of addiction to physical activity, which can cause health problems. Shockingly, signs of exercise dependence are common even in recreational jogging, according to Neuroscience News, citing Frontiers in Psychology.

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have investigated whether the concept of escapism can help understand the relationship between running, well-being, and exercise dependence.

Dr Frode Sttensing, lead researcher on the study, said: ‘Escape is an everyday phenomenon among humans, yet little is known about its motivational underpinnings, how it affects experiences and the resulting psychological outcomes.

Playing sports

Sad or boring things

Dr. Stensing added that “escapism is often defined as ‘an activity, form of entertainment, etc. that helps avoid or forget things that are unpleasant or boring.’ In other words, many of the daily activities of human beings can be interpreted as escapism.” .

“The psychological payoff from escapism is reduced self-awareness, reduced rumination, and relief from the most pressing or stressful thoughts and emotions,” Dr. Stensing explained.


Escaping can restore perspective, or it can serve as a distraction from problems that need to be addressed. Escape, which is adaptive and used as a means of seeking positive experiences, is referred to as self-expansion. Meanwhile, escaping, unable to adapt and avoid negative experiences, is called self-suppression. In other words, running as a means of scouting or evasion.

Aerobics – iStock

The problem of avoidance and maladjustment

“These two forms of escapism stem from two different mindsets, to promote positive moods or prevent negative moods,” Dr. Stensing said.

He explained that streamlined activities used for self-expansion have more positive effects but also more long-term benefits. By contrast, self-suppression tends to suppress both positive and negative emotions and leads to avoidance.

Aerobics – iStock

Reliance on physical exercise

The researchers asked 227 study participants, half of whom were men, who exercised (running) to widely varying degrees, to fill out questionnaires that looked at three different aspects of escapism and exercise dependence, such as the escapism scale, which measures preference for self-expansion or self-suppression, and the escapism scale. The exercise dependent, life satisfaction measure designed to test participants’ subjective well-being.

The researchers discovered that there was very little overlap between runners, who favored self-expansion, and runners, who favored self-repressive escape styles.

Self-expansion was positively associated with well-being, while self-suppression was negatively associated with well-being.

Erosion of potential welfare gains

Although exercise dependence erodes potential well-being gains from exercise, it appears that perception of decreased well-being can be both a cause and a consequence of exercise dependence: perhaps dependence is driven by decreased as well as enhanced well-being. Similarly, the experience of positive self-expansion can be a psychological trigger that reinforces exercise dependence.

Treatment of maladjustment

Dr Sttensing said, “More studies using longitudinal research designs are necessary to reveal more motivational dynamics and outcomes in escapism. But the results of the study shed light on understanding private motivations, and could be used for therapeutic purposes in individuals who struggle through maladaptive involvement in their activity.” “.

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