chapter  6
22 Pages

Exercise dependence: Dave Smith and Bruce D. Hale

It is ironic that in this day and age that, while most exercise researchers are investi-

gating ways to get more people exercising regularly and reducing overweight and

obese bodies, other researchers are interested in understanding why a smaller per-

centage of the population exercise excessively. Though all medical practitioners

agree that regular exercise should be an important part of a healthy lifestyle, some

individuals develop an obsessive approach to it that can be damaging physiologically,

psychologically and socially. The addictive qualities of exercise have been known to

researchers for at least 40 years, since the work of Baekeland (1970). As part of his

sleep deprivation research, Baekeland wanted to explore the effects of exercise depri-

vation. He had to abandon this part of his research, however, as he found participants

impossible to recruit. Despite offering large sums of money, he could not persuade

enough participants to forego regular exercise for several weeks. His observations led

him to conclude that many of these individuals were addicted to exercise.