Exercise psychology meets public health: Avenues on health enhancing physical activity

Marlene N. Silva *, Catarina S. Silva ** and António L. Palmeira ***

(*) CIDEFES (Centro de Investigação em Desporto, Educação Física, Exercício e Saúde) Faculdade de Educação Física, Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Portugal Programa Nacional para a Promoção da Atividade Física- Direcção-Geral da Saúde, Portugal
(**) Programa Nacional para a Promoção da Atividade Física, Direção-Geral da Saúde Centro Interdisciplinar de Estudo da Performance Humana, Faculdade de Motricidade Humana, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
(***) CIDEFES (Centro de Investigação em Desporto, Educação Física, Exercício e Saúde) Faculdade de Educação Física, Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Portugal

Citation

N. Silva, M., S. Silva, C., L. Palmeira, A. (2020). Exercise psychology meets public health: Avenues on health enhancing physical activity. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 51(6), 597-612. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2020.51.597

Abstract

Across its many different forms, physical activity (PA) has multiplicative health, social and economic benefits. Thus, PA promotion, traditionally addressed by the sports and exercise sector, is now being targeted intersectorally, including public health and policy. Developments in evidence regarding the physical and mental health benefits of even light PA, for short periods of time, have facilitated the publication of solid guidelines, but challenge remains on how to promote it. The majority of the evidence uses behavioral-change models typically used in the field of health psychology, applied to all sets of ill-health behaviors. However, given all the specificities of PA-related behaviors (not confined to structured exercise), and their potential to be inherently intrinsic for one side, and automatically activated on the other, new approaches and models need to be further explored and tested. This paper aims to reflect on how the advances in exercise psychology and their intersection with health psychology can contribute to public health efforts on addressing the physical inactivity pandemic, while exploring examples from micro and macro level approaches, including an overview of PA promotion models in health care settings and the potential of digital tools in this field

Keywords: Exercise Psychology, Physical Activity, Health


back