South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation

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Physical exercise and psychological wellness in health club members: a comparative and longitudinal study

Stephen D. Edwards


This paper constitutes a comparative and longitudinal investigation of physical exercise and psychological wellness in a sample of health club members in Zululand, South Africa. The research was contextualized within a public health and community psychological model of mental health promotion. Physical exercise was categorized as regular or irregular, depending upon whether it met the criterion of exercising for an average of thirty minutes a day at least three times per week or not. A Wellness Profile was constructed from various questionnaires chosen on the basis of their relationship with the general construct of psychological wellness and administered to samples of health club members and university students. In the comparative investigation, health club members were more psychologically well than university students. Whether they were members of a health club or not, participants who were regular exercisers were found to be more psychologically well than irregular exercisers. In the longitudinal investigation, health club members who exercised regularly over a period of two or more months increased significantly in psychological wellness. The significance of the findings in themselves and for the promotion of public and mental health is discussed.

(S. African J. for Research in Sport, Physical Ed. and Recreation: 2003 25 (1): 23-34)

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