Anne-Marie Elbe – Københavns Universitet

3. december: Vil du også gerne være mere fysisk aktiv i 2017?

KU's Alumneforening har bedt forskere fra Københavns Universitet om at fortælle om deres aktuelle forskningsprojekter. Det er tilsammen blevet til de 24 låger i årets forskningsjulekalender, hvor du kan læse om alt fra juleflæsk til mediernes fremstilling af julen. I dagens låge fortæller Anne-Marie Elbe fra Det Naturvidenskabelige Fakultet om sin forskning i sport og motivation.

Would you also like to be become more physically active in 2017?

Many of us make the resolution to become more physically active in the New Year, especially after having spent the holidays sitting together with family and friends enjoying delicious food and drink. But by the middle of January many of us have abandoned our newly set goals and return to our old habits. We just do not succeed to keep up that weekly walk or jog through the forest nor the daily bicycle ride to work even though we are aware of how healthy regular physical activity is and how good it can make us feel.

Underlying psychological factors

My research focuses on investigating the underlying psychological factors for why some individuals are highly active (e.g. elite athletes) whereas others are highly inactive (e.g. individuals with obesity).

I am interested in personality factors like motivation and self-regulation. Our motivation relates to which activities appeal to us whereas our self-regulation skills help us to transfer our intentions into actions.

In other words: motivation is what gets us started – self-regulation is what keeps us going. Furthermore, environmental factors like the motivational climate and positive, supportive group relations also play an important role for keeping us physically active. All of these factors can be optimized in such a way that they not only increase physical activity levels but also enhance our well-being.

How to maintain a weight loss

Currently, within the Copenhagen Women Study, we are investigating which motivational and self-regulatory personality factors characterize those women with obesity that manage to keep up or even further increase their weight loss after an intense three-month lifestyle intervention at Ubberup folk high school.

Results indicate that those participants who manage to be regularly physically active are more successful in maintaining their weight loss after the intervention ends and also show differences in their motivational and self-regulatory personality factors compared to those who do not keep up regular exercise.

A future project should therefore work on enhancing these personality factors in order to increase the weight loss success after participants have left Ubberup.

The motivational climate

A project connected to the Copenhagen Centre for Team Sport and Health investigates how the motivational climate in multicultural Danish Physical education classes can be enhanced so that the inclusion of migrants is promoted.

It is known that the health of migrants is more at risk than that of members of the dominant society. Therefore ensuring regular physical activity in this population is especially important. Furthermore, the foundations for an active lifestyle can be laid in schools. We found that instruction utilizing team sports which create a motivational climate focusing more on learning and personal improvement rather than on competition and outperforming others can further inclusion. 

If you would like to know how you can achieve your personal goals for an active lifestyle have a look here: Article published in Helse on how to reach your fitness goals

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Mød også

I morgen kan du i KU's forskningsjulekalender 2016 møde Joachim S. Wiewura, der fortæller om hvilken rolle information spiller i (mis)dannelsen af offentligheder.