How Does Physical Activity Affect the Self-Esteem and Performance of Young Adults?

Topics: Exercise, Physical exercise, Strength training Pages: 18 (5717 words) Published: May 20, 2012
Group members:

Hanna Pettersson 11045825
Andrea Simal 11061960
Isabella Stojkovski 11014318


Dan Mercea

Semester 1, Term 2
Research Paper – Introduction to Research Skills

How does physical activity affect the self-esteem and performance of young adults?

Executive Summary

The main research question of this report is:
How does physical activity affect self-image and performance of young adults? To be able to answer this question we have divided it into three parts, consisting of the effects of physical activity on self-image, academic performance and a last part on cognitive processes in connection with these two. The reason for the choice of the topic is mostly personal interest since we are students who want to perform well and we are interested in other factors that can improve our results other than simply studying. By doing research, which almost exclusively consisted of desk research, we have retrieved information to answer our question. Many studies have been conducted on the connection between academic performance and physical activity. In most cases, a positive effect can be observed as many students who do exercise have better results than students who do not. However, some studies have also shown indifference in performance level between physically active and inactive individuals, but in very few cases exercise has had a negative effect. Studies also show that physical activity improves a person’s ability to concentrate, which definitely is an important factor for successful results. Most experts agree on that physical activity also affects the self-image of a person positively, as it improves the self-esteem, first of all just from the fact that exercise gives an individual a positive feeling about himself. The expectancies that are associated with physical activity are often enough to increase the performer’s rating of the self and can also help to achieve social status. However, physical education can lead to an individual’s social exclusion, which can have a very negative effect.                 Physical activity affects processes in the brain, such as production of neurons, which is connected to transfer of information and storing capacity. Some experts believe that this causes mood enhancement and well being of an individual, while others claim that it does not.                 Stating that physical activity affects us positively is not controversial in any way, but to some extent it might have even more benefits than we think, as many experts and researchers suggest. Not many studies show a negative effect on individuals from physical activity, and even though we are unable to say that it will affect us positively for certain, the chance that it will not affect us at all or in a positive way is greater than a possible negative outcome. The proved benefits of exercise are many, so the obstacle to overcome is only to get started, the sooner the better! You might experience unexpected improvements.

Table of contents

1. Introduction4
2. Methods4
3. Results5

a) Biochemical processes5
b) Self-esteem6
c) Academic performance8

4. Discussion/Analysis9
5. Conclusions10
6. Recommendations10
7. List of References12
8. Appendices: Interview transcript13

1. Introduction

We are three motivated and aspiring students at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. Thus, like many other students, we like to be as efficient and successful as possible. Being a student can many times feel like a tiring full-time job with lots of overtime and late nights. Any suggestion on how to manage this, stay motivated and keep what energy we have is always welcome. Food and sleep are the two most important factors for us to survive each term, most evident during the exam weeks. While trying to come up with a suitable research question and searching the world wide web in expectation to get inspired, we ran across the fact that physical activity can...

References: Bennemann, J. et al. (2004). Signale des Körpers Richtig Deuten. Ein Symptomführer von A-Z. (1st edition). München: ADAC.
Hellmich, H. (2010, April 14). Study: Physical activity can boost student performance. Retrieved January 10, 2012 from the USA TODAY Web site:
Howe, C
Landers, D. M. & Arent, S. M. (2001). Physical Activity and Mental Health. In R. N. Singer, H. A. Hausenblas & C. M. Janelle (Eds.), Handbook of Sport Psychology (pp. 756-757). New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
McGovern, MK. (2005, spring). The effects of Exersice on the Brain. Retrieved January 12, 2012 from the serendip Web site:
Neurogenesis (n.d.) Retrieved on January 12, 2012 from the Wikipedia Web site:
Personal interview with student counsellor Mr Brijer, December 14, 2011
Synaptic Plasticity (n.d.) Retrieved on January 12, 2012, from the Wikipedia Web site:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2009, March 31). Physical Activity May Strengthen Children 's Ability To Pay Attention. Retrieved January 10, 2012 from the Science Daily Web site:
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