The National Health Survey 2010 reported that only 19% of Singaporeans aged 18-69 years engaged in regular exercise (any forms of sport and exercise; at least 20 mins/session; 3 or more days/week) during their leisure time (Ministry of Health, 2011). Why are we not active enough during our leisure time? There are many factors involved which are beyond the scope of this article. I will only discuss about which type of activities (sport or exercise) would be more ideal for long term adherence for those thinking of being more active.
There is a difference between exercise and sport participation. Exercise is defined as a form of physical activity involving exertion of sufficient intensity, duration and frequency to achieve or maintain fitness or athletic objectives (Neiman, 2003). Examples are jogging, aerobics and gong to the gym. Sports participation is defined as a form of physical activity governed by formal or informal rules that involve competition against an opponent or oneself (Lumpkin, 1998).
Literature examining motives towards exercise and sport suggest that sport participants were more intrinsically motivated as they were driven by their own satisfactions and exercise participants were more extrinsically motivated by external outcomes. It is likely that people who engage in sport are more likely to persist in their sporting activities compared to exercise participants regardless of gender (Kilpatrick, Hebert & Bartholomew, 2005; Rintaugh & Ngetich, 2012).
Conclusion: If you are thinking of being more physically active and have no preferences for either exercise or sport activities, consider taking up a new sport or going back to your sport again. But ultimately, you should select the type of activities based on your preferences for best adherence results.
Kilpatrick, M., Hebert, E., & Bartholomew, J. (2005). College students' motivation for physical activity: differentiating men's and women's motives for sport participation and exercise. Journal of American college health, 54(2), 87-94.
Lumpkin A. Physical Education and Sport: A Contemporary Introduction. 4th Ed. Boston, Mass: McGraw-Hill; 1998.
Ministry of Health, Singapore (2011, November 29). National Health Survey 2010, Singapore. Retrieved from http://www.moh.gov.sg/content/moh_web/home/Publications/Reports/2011/national_health_survey2010.html
Neiman D. Exercise Testing and Prescription: A Health-Related Approach. 5th Ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2003.
Rintaugh, E. G., & Ngetich, E. K. (2012). Motivational gender differences in sport and exercise participation among university sport science students. Journal Of Physical Education & Sport,12(2), 180-187.
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