A study on the relationship between compulsive exercise, depression and anxiety

Aviv Weinstein, Gavriel Maayan, Yitzhak Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and aims: Exercise and physical activity are beneficial both physically and psychologically but a few individuals use exercise excessively resulting in physical and even psychological damage. There is evidence for bidirectional relationship between exercise with depression and anxiety showing that exercise can reduce anxiety and depression, whereas a lack of exercise is associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression. Methods: This study used questionnaires assessing compulsive exercise, anxiety and depression among 20 professional regular exercisers and 51 recreational regular exercisers. Results: Results showed that ratings of compulsive exercise were associated with ratings of anxiety and depression among individuals who exercise for professional and recreational purpose. Secondly, individuals who exercise for professional purpose were more depressed than individuals who exercise for recreational purpose, but did not exhibit higher trait anxiety ratings. Thirdly, individuals who exercise for recreational purpose showed an association between ratings of compulsive exercise and depression but not with ratings of trait anxiety. Discussion: Individuals who exercise for professional and recreational purpose may use it as a means for alleviating depression and anxiety although this small sample of recreational and professional sportsmen showed clinical levels of anxiety and depression that may require further clinical treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-318
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Behavioral Addictions
Volume4
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Compulsive exercise
  • Depression
  • Exercise addiction

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