Globally physical inactivity is a leading, independent, and significant risk factor for disease and mortality. Exercise scientists and clinical exercise physiologists have a key role in supporting client participation in physical activity. However, with the rates of physical activity continuing to be low, we argue for a paradigm shift in the way practitioners engage with clients. Attachment theory, a theory which focuses on social relationships and bonds, has received increased attention within physical activity and broader health literature. Awareness of attachment theory provides insight into individual health-related responses and physical activity motivation and guides key professional practices and processes relevant to both exercise scientists and clinical exercise physiologists. However, there remains no research specific to the application of attachment theory by these 2 professions. This narrative review provides an overview of the literature on attachment theory applicable to exercise science and exercise physiology and highlights the potential for attachment theory to inform future practice, education, and research, concluding with 3 recommendations for future research priorities.

You do not currently have access to this content.