Can physical activity improve prosocial behaviour?

Regular physical activity in adults can promote good health, improve cognitive function, and prevent disease. Abundant research from the health and exercise science literature also presents empirical evidence of positive “non-health effects” induced by physical activity or sports participation. Among the non-health effects, physical activity improves life satisfaction, happiness, subjective well-being, mental health, and interpersonal relations.

A study into trust and trustworthiness showed that participants involved in social physical activity exhibit more prosocial behaviour than those socialising in different simple tasks. This reinforces the Sport England, Active Lives, Adult Survey May 18/19 Report, Published Oct 2019 report ( which shows that those taking part in physical activity demonstrate an increased level of trust. This in turn has an effect on interactions with friends, family, colleagues, neighbours and the local community.

The positive effects of physical activity on prosocial behaviour seems not to be temporary. As long as physical activities improve cooperation among individuals, they also improve efficiency in society.

Being physically active helps people become more social and improves local communities.

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