The relationship between physical activity and a sense of purpose in life


A recent study has shown that people with a greater sense of purpose in life may be more likely to engage in physical activity. The same study went on to find that keeping active and exercising, contributed to a sense of purpose.

When you have a sense of purpose, you tend to have:

  • Increased optimism, resiliency and hope

  • Experiencing joy, happiness and satisfaction more often

  • Better physical health which in turns lowers risk factors associated with death

  • Being a more engaged student, partner or employee

  • Enjoying the process of learning more

  • Feeling a greater sense of belonging within different environments

  • Improved career satisfaction


The guidelines for exercise in Australia recommend that 18-64 year old’s be active on most days (total of 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate activity). If you are over the age of 65, moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes most days is the recommendation.


As we head into Exercise Right Week 2021, this study is just another reminder that exercise not only provides benefits of health improvements, but also mental and psychological benefits. A sense of purpose in life allows you to refocus on the things that are meaningful to you, and to move ahead and enjoy life. Exercise is the gateway to all that is a healthy body and mind!



Yemiscigil, A., Vlaev, I. The bidirectional relationship between sense of purpose in life and physical activity: a longitudinal study. J Behav Med (2021).