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Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Associations between Leisure Time Physical Activity, Mental Well-Being and Subjective Health in Middle Adulthood


Kekäläinen, Tiia; Freund, Alexandra M; Sipilä, Sarianna; Kokko, Katja (2020). Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Associations between Leisure Time Physical Activity, Mental Well-Being and Subjective Health in Middle Adulthood. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 15(4):1099-1116.

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that participation in leisure time physical activity is related to better mental well-being and subjective health. However, the associations between different types of leisure time physical activities and different dimensions of mental well-being have rarely been studied. In addition, longitudinal research, analyzing possible causal relations between these variables, is lacking. To investigate these research questions, data gathered at ages 42 and 50 (present N = 303) for the Finnish Jyväskylä Longitudinal Study of Personality and Social Development were used. Physical activity was assessed as frequency of participation at ages 42 and 50, and at age 50 also as frequency of participation in different types of physical activities. Mental well-being was captured by emotional, psychological and social well-being and subjective health by self-rated health and symptoms. Cross-sectionally, different types of physical activities were related to different dimensions of well-being. Walking had positive associations with psychological and social well-being, rambling in nature with emotional and social well-being, and endurance training with subjective health. Rambling in nature was also positively related to subjective health but only among men. Longitudinally, mental well-being predicted later participation in leisure time physical activity, whereas no longitudinal associations between subjective health and physical activity were found. The results suggest that leisure time physical activities are related to current mental well-being and subjective health in midlife. Across time, good mental well-being seems to be a resource promoting engagement in physical activity.

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that participation in leisure time physical activity is related to better mental well-being and subjective health. However, the associations between different types of leisure time physical activities and different dimensions of mental well-being have rarely been studied. In addition, longitudinal research, analyzing possible causal relations between these variables, is lacking. To investigate these research questions, data gathered at ages 42 and 50 (present N = 303) for the Finnish Jyväskylä Longitudinal Study of Personality and Social Development were used. Physical activity was assessed as frequency of participation at ages 42 and 50, and at age 50 also as frequency of participation in different types of physical activities. Mental well-being was captured by emotional, psychological and social well-being and subjective health by self-rated health and symptoms. Cross-sectionally, different types of physical activities were related to different dimensions of well-being. Walking had positive associations with psychological and social well-being, rambling in nature with emotional and social well-being, and endurance training with subjective health. Rambling in nature was also positively related to subjective health but only among men. Longitudinally, mental well-being predicted later participation in leisure time physical activity, whereas no longitudinal associations between subjective health and physical activity were found. The results suggest that leisure time physical activities are related to current mental well-being and subjective health in midlife. Across time, good mental well-being seems to be a resource promoting engagement in physical activity.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Life-span and Life-course Studies
Uncontrolled Keywords:Life-span and Life-course Studies
Language:English
Date:1 September 2020
Deposited On:10 Dec 2019 14:02
Last Modified:09 Aug 2020 01:02
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1871-2584
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-019-09721-4

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