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Good for body and soul – International study on sports and exercise in times of crisis

People who exercised or did sports on a regular basis two to three times a week before the corona crisis tend to exercise more at present, while those who were not or only irregularly physically active are now exercising even less. These are the first results of a worldwide study organized at short notice, in which about 6300 participants in 52 countries have so far taken part. ”Exercising is not only good for the body, but also for the soul,” says Prof. Dr. Ralf Brand from the University of Potsdam, who initiated the study. “We currently see a more positive sense of well-being among physically active people than among those who do not do sports or do them irregularly,” says the sports psychologist. The international research team is particularly interested in how sports and exercise affect general well-being in everyday life, especially in times of crisis. Participants are currently still being sought, for example from Germany, in order to be able to evaluate the different situations in the individual federal states. The online survey, which takes about ten minutes, is available in twelve languages and is very mobile friendly:

Within a very short time, Ralf Brand succeeded in enlisting the support of cooperating sports scientists from all over the world for the joint study. “The changes in people's lives that are currently being politically decreed on a global scale offer a research situation that we could never have created in the laboratory in this way. This is a great opportunity, especially for us working in the behavioral sciences,” says the sports psychologist. The international study looks at sports and exercise in a broader sense, for example, going for a walk, running outdoors or training with weights at home – activities that people now consciously schedule in order to get in order to move at least a little or to do sports. The data on changes in sports and exercise behavior are then assessed in relation to the effects on well-being. The scientists want to understand whether and under what conditions exercise and sports contribute to people's ability to say that they are currently doing well and feeling comfortable.

The study can be classified as part of a field of research that is internationally known as “exercise psychology”. One of the most important questions raised in this area is why some people find it easy to be physically active on a regular basis for the sake of their health and others do not. In the current social-/behavioral-scientific study, the researchers make use of survey methods which help them get an idea of how people think and feel in everyday life. The data analyses that are currently still being evaluated on a daily basis will be followed by more complex statistical analyses and modeling as soon as the first phase of the study is completed. A second phase is envisaged, in which the same people will be interviewed again once the corona crisis has subsided to some extent.

To participate in the online study:

Contact: Prof. Dr. Ralf Brand, Head of Sports and Exercise Psychology
Phone: 0331 977-1040
E-Mail: ralf.branduni-potsdamde

Media information 15-04-2020 / No. 044