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Equipping physical activity leaders to facilitate behaviour change: An overview, call to action, and roadmap for future research.

Stevens, M., Rees, T., Cruwys, T. and Oliver, L., 2022. Equipping physical activity leaders to facilitate behaviour change: An overview, call to action, and roadmap for future research. Sports Medicine - Open, 8, 33.

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DOI: 10.1186/s40798-022-00423-0


Addressing high and stagnant physical inactivity rates remains a pervasive challenge for researchers, and a priority for health organisations, governments, and physical activity practitioners. Leaders are a prevailing feature of numerous physical activity contexts and can fundamentally influence people’s physical activity behaviours and experiences. In line with this, fitness companies and organisations commonly claim that the leaders of their classes, groups, or sessions will motivate, inspire, and ensure exercisers achieve their goals. We argue, however, that there is insufficient evidence regarding how leaders can best facilitate positive behaviours among, and outcomes for, group members to be confident that these claims are translating into strong physical activity leadership on the ground. In this article, we therefore call for research that equips leaders with greater knowledge and practical guidelines for how to maximise their effectiveness. To facilitate such research, we provide an overview of research that has examined the most effective ways for physical activity leaders to promote health-enhancing behaviours (e.g., greater participation) and positive experiences that may lead to such behaviours (e.g., greater exercise enjoyment) among those they lead. Then, with the shortcomings of this extant research in mind, we outline four broad recommendations for future research: (a) conduct research in novel and varied contexts, (b) focus on insufficiently active populations, (c) utilise qualitative methods, and (d) focus on translation and implementation. Such research would, we believe, generate knowledge that enables physical activity leaders to capitalise on their potential to be powerful agents of behaviour change.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Leadership; Exercise; Participation; Translation; Health behaviour change
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:36608
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:15 Feb 2022 12:41
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:32


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