Psychology of Physical Activity and Health

Self-determination theory (SDT) advocates the requirement of successful accomplishment of the personality and motivational needs of individuals in the context of enhancing their wellness outcomes (, 2016). STD focuses on the attributes of competence, relatedness and autonomy that effectively control the learning activities and overall personal development of individuals. The competence of individuals assists them in attaining the desirable outcomes. However, their relatedness helps them in connecting people and caring for them across the community environment. The autonomy of people makes them self-dependent identities and assists them in terms of bringing the desirable changes in life through intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Self-Determination Theory and its Relevance to the Exercise Behavior – (An Evidence-Based Analysis)

The motivational aspect of SDT proves advantageous in terms of increasing the level of physical activity among individuals (Teixeira, Carraça, Markland, Silva, & Ryan, 2012). The application of SDT in improving the exercise pattern of people requires the systematic exploration of the value of exercise in their lives. This intrinsic gap requires mitigation while increasing the awareness of people regarding the benefits of exercise in terms of its efficacy in improving the health and wellness outcomes. Tracking of extrinsic challenges is also required in systematically elevating the pattern of extrinsic motivation for increasing the frequency of exercise and physical activity among individuals. The systematic enhancement of motivation of individuals considerably increases the level of their autonomy that inspires them in terms of taking the health advantage of exercise interventions across the community environment. The elevation of autonomy reciprocally increases the pattern of self-regulation in individuals that make them more disciplined in their lives and resultantly, their satisfaction level increases after undertaking exercises approaches at regular intervals. The findings of a research study by (Klain, Matos, Leitão, Cid, & Moutão, 2015) revealed significant attribution of autonomy support facilitated by physical educator on the motivational regulation of individuals. People who obtained personal training for satisfying their basic physiological needs became self-determined in terms of adhering to the physical exercise regimen. These people efficiently surpassed their behavioral disorientation against exercise and attained health better outcomes as compared to the people affected with low self-esteem. This rationally indicates the application of STD in improving exercise behavior of common masses across the community environment. Evidence-based research literature advocates the circumstantial requirement of facilitation of selected motivational subtypes for the volitional execution of physical activity by the individuals (Teixeira, Palmeira, & Vansteenkiste, 2012). These motivational subtypes might be behavioral intervention or motivational interviews that boost the morale of people and inspire them in actively participating in the physical activities for improving the pattern of their health and wellness. The busy schedule of people in today’s life is the biggest hindrance that reduces their competence and relatedness regarding health related issues in the society and they subsequently fail to understand the health advantages of exercise and remain reluctant in attending the physical activity interventions. The potential self-determination approaches assist in resolving this hindrance and motivating the people in terms of attending the physical activity sessions under the supervision of a competent trainer.

The cross-sectional research study by (Sebire, Jago, Fox, Edwards, & Thompson, 2013) evidentially signifies the motivational targets of children in increasing the level of their physical activity. The extrinsic motivational factors among children include their social environments constituted by their teachers, coaches and parents that consistently elevate their intrinsic motivation for undertaking the physical activity. However, the study findings revealed minimum influence of the awareness sessions that signified the advantages of exercise interventions on the level of physical activities of the treated children. Behavioral interventions that emphasized in incorporation of fun in physical activity considerably motivated them for experiencing joy and satisfaction from the exercise interventions. The research findings by (González-Cutre & Sicilia, 2012) revealed the potential influence of competence attribute of individuals and ego-involving climate on the pattern of their physical activity. The findings of the research study by (Lee, et al., 2016) revealed the significance of various motivational interventions on the exercise dependence and subsequent enhancement of physical fitness and quality of life among the elderly individuals. Evidence-based research literature relates the pattern of intrinsic motivation with the contextual and situational factors that elevate the desire of the individuals in terms of their participation in physical activity (Ryan, Williams, Patrick, & Deci, 2009). Conversely, the desire of gaining some material advantage from the physical activity might motivate the individuals for actively participating in the exercise sessions while not directly realizing the health advantages of exercise and physical activity. However, the absence of competence decreases the motivation of people for taking part in an exercise session and physical activity. This pattern of “amotivation” might arise in the scenarios when the individuals experience the absence of knowledge and skills required to undertake the physical interventions for obtaining their desirable outcomes. The research findings by (Gay, Saunders, & Dowda, 2011) reveal the elevated magnitude of the relationship between exercise intervention and psychosocial needs satisfaction under the influence of neighbourhood characteristics and convenience of individuals across the community environment. This rationally indicates the concomitant influence of environmental and psychosocial factors (in the context of SDT) on the pattern of exercise and physical activity among the research subjects. Evidence-based research literature advocates the significance of SDT in terms of brining considerable change in the health related behavior of individuals (Fortier, Duda, Guerin, & Teixeira, 2012). The behavioral interventions in the context of SDT employed for controlling the adverse manifestations of conditions like smoking addiction, uncontrolled diabetes and dietary inadequacies and weight loss. These behavioral approaches focus on elevating the quality of life of the affected patients that resultantly motivates them in terms of undertaking the exercise interventions for acquiring the desirable health and wellness outcomes.

The research study by (Standage, Gillison, Ntoumanis, & Treasure, 2012) investigated the positive influence of the pattern of autonomous motivation among school students (during the physical education and exercise sessions) on their interest towards attaining healthy life style while regularly following the exercise regimen. This rationally indicates the significance of SDT and its potential implications for the daily lives of children and adolescents. Evidence-based research literature advocates the efficacy of the concepts of SDT in terms of motivating the overweight children for their active engagement in physical activity and exercise regimen (Deforche, Haerens, & Bourdeaudhuij, 2011). Elevation of the perceived competence of obese children while configuring realistic goals and promoting self-management skills and customizing exercise therapy for them effectively enhances their confidence in terms of actively participating in the exercise session for gaining the health advantages. Empathising with the obese children, understanding their physical challenges and individualized problems are some of the attributes that must be taken into account by healthcare professionals while motivating them for taking part in exercise sessions and physical activity programs. Active socialization with obese children while elevating their relatedness and autonomy instils the pattern and joy in them in the context of participating in physical activity sessions under the guidance of trained specialists. Indeed, parents of obese and physically challenged children prove to be the greatest source of elevating their attributes of relatedness, autonomy and competence in the context of enhancing their interests in various exercise and physical activity interventions. The research findings by (Rosa, et al., 2015) indicate the significance of various social practices for enhancing the SDT requirement of relatedness, autonomy and competence among individuals. Individuals acquire the pattern of self-cohesion under the influence of these social practices that resultantly increase their adherence to the exercise regimen in the context of promoting their health and wellness across the community environment. This rationally indicates that social connectedness between the individuals is highly required for motivating themselves for attaining a healthy life style and elevated quality of life through active participation in the exercise interventions. Social connectedness in the context of SDT promotes the pattern of self-control among individuals and provides them with a competitive spirit and enjoyment in undertaking the physical activities and exercise sessions for experiencing the wellness outcomes. However, the effective enhancement of the pattern of social context and its positive influence on the characteristics of individuals warranted while accomplishing the support requirements of individuals in the context of motivating them towards their participation in the various exercise interventions (Fortier, Duda, Guerin, & Teixeira, 2012).


Self-determination theory is an effective tool requiring utilization by healthcare professionals in the context of enhancing the goal-oriented behavior of individuals across the community environment. A blend of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors required for effectively enhancing the relatedness, autonomy and competence of individuals in the context of elevating their engagement in exercise and physical activity sessions for experiencing the desirable health outcomes. Individuals must be given motivational tips and various choices related to physical activity with the objective of increasing their interest in exercise sessions. Positive reinforcement through feedback sessions and regular interaction with the individuals required to elevate the pattern of their social connectivity and competence in the context of attending the fun based physical activities and exercise regimen. SDT advocates the configuration of a competitive and socially active culture across the community environment in consistently facilitating the motivation of individuals for obtaining the health benefits and psychosocial advantages of exercise interventions.


Deforche, B., Haerens, L., & Bourdeaudhuij, I. (2011). How to make overweight children exercise and follow the recommendations. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity , 35-41.

Fortier, M. S., Duda, J. L., Guerin, E., & Teixeira, P. J. (2012). romoting physical activity: development and testing of self-determination theory-based interventions. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Therapy , 9 (20).

Gay, J. L., Saunders, R. P., & Dowda, M. (2011). The relationship of physical activity and the built environment within the context of self-determination theory. Annals of Behavioural Medicine , 188-196.

González-Cutre, D., & Sicilia, A. (2012). Motivation and exercise dependence: a study based on self-determination theory. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport , 83 (2), 318-329.

Klain, I. P., Matos, D. G., Leitão, J. C., Cid, L., & Moutão, J. (2015). Self-Determination and Physical Exercise Adherence in the Contexts of Fitness Academies and Personal Training. Journal of Human Kinetics , 241-249. (2016). Self- Determination Theory (DECI AND RYAN). Retrieved from

Lee, M., Kim, M. J., Suh, D., Kim, J., Jo, E., & Yoon, B. (2016). Feasibility of a Self-Determination Theory-Based Exercise Program in Community-Dwelling South Korean Older Adults: Experiences from a 13-Month Trial. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity , 8-21.

Rosa, J. P., de Souza, A. A., de Lima, G. H., Rodrigues, D. F., Lemos, V. A., Alves, E. d., et al. (2015). Motivational and evolutionary aspects of a physical exercise training program: a longitudinal study. Frontiers in Psychology .

Ryan, R. M., Williams, G. C., Patrick, H., & Deci, E. L. (2009). Self-Determination Theory and Physical Activity: The Dynamics of Motivation in Development and Wellness. Hellenic Journal of Psychology , 107-124.

Sebire, S. J., Jago, R., Fox, K. R., Edwards, M. J., & Thompson, J. L. (2013). Testing a self-determination theory model of children’s physical activity motivation: a cross-sectional study. International Journal of Behavioural, Nutrition and Physical Therapy , 10 (111).

Standage, M., Gillison, F. B., Ntoumanis, N., & Treasure, D. C. (2012). Predicting students’ physical activity and health-related well-being: a prospective cross-domain investigation of motivation across school physical education and exercise settings. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology , 34 (1), 37-60.

Teixeira, P. J., Carraça, E. V., Markland, D., Silva, M. N., & Ryan, R. M. (2012). Exercise, physical activity, and self-determination theory: A systematic review. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity , 9 (78).

Teixeira, P. J., Palmeira, A. L., & Vansteenkiste, M. (2012). The role of self-determination theory and motivational interviewing in behavioral nutrition, physical activity, and health: an introduction to the IJBNPA special series. International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity , 9 (17). is the most reliable and dependable academic writing service in UK. We provide specialized help for all subjects and topics under the sky, successfully delivering top-notch quality work on time without any compromise. Our expert team of experienced researchers, writers, academicians and editors has a record of providing high-quality assignment writing service. They can guide students to achieve academic success through a result-oriented approach.

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