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JU’s Hausenblas makes sense of exercise addiction on health and fitness website

JU Prof. Heather Hausenblas

JU Associate Professor of Exercise Science Heather Hausenblas addresses the complex topic of exercise dependence in an article, “Passion of Problem? When Exercise Becomes an Addiction,” published June 28 on Greatest (Greatest.com), a popular social health and fitness website.

Dr. Hausenblas, the co-author of four scientific books and publisher of more than 80 scientific journal articles, describes exercise dependence as a craving for exercise that results in uncontrollable excessive physical activity and manifests in physiological or psychological symptoms, or both.

“A lot of people have a healthy attitude towards exercise, choose to become trainers, or work at a gym, and that’s fine,” Hausenblas, an exercise psychologist, said in the Greatest article (see the complete article here). “It’s when exercise becomes all consuming — when you start losing friends, forgoing social activities or reneging work opportunities — that your workout schedule becomes cause for concern.”

A Greatest expert, Hausenblas co-developed an “exercise dependence scale” to assess people’s risks for exercise addiction. The assessment covers seven factors: Tolerance, withdrawal, intention effect, lack of control, time spent, reduction of other pursuits, and continuance despite injury.

The exercise dependence scale (click here to learn more) is modeled after the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder’s protocol for identifying substance addictions.