Physical Activity and Health

Authored by: Rick A. LaCaille , Stephanie A. Hooker

Handbook of Health Psychology

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138052819
eBook ISBN: 9781315167534
Adobe ISBN:


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It is well accepted that physical activity (PA) has important and far-reaching benefits for enhanced physical health and reduced risk of premature mortality. However, notable psychological benefits have also been documented in the literature. Numerous benefits to PA have been documented with regards to prolonged longevity, health/illness morbidity, psychological functioning, including stress reactivity, depression, anxiety, well-being, quality of life, sleep, and cognition. An overview of the relationship between personality and PA is provided, as is the nature of potentially maladaptive engagement with excessive exercise. Moreover, six more commonly employed theoretical frameworks that offer insights into potential mechanisms of PA initiation/maintenance are discussed, as is the corresponding evidence for these. A review of the effectiveness of PA interventions is provided across the theories and various levels of intervening individual, group, and community. Recommendations are made regarding theory testing and integration as well as ongoing issues with the measurement of PA.

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