Enhancing Motivation in Sport, Exercise, and Physical Activity

by Dr Dev Roychowdhury

Enhancing Motivation in Sport, Exercise, and Physical Activity

Despite the well-documented benefits of engaging in regular physical activity (PA), a majority of the global population is increasingly becoming physically inactive and sedentary, which has been linked to a wide range of detrimental physical and mental health outcomes.

And therefore, it is crucial for health researchers and practitioners to be able to help individuals improve their motivation to engage in PA and enhance performance.

But how do we examine the motives people have for engaging in PA? Do people understand their own reasons for engaging in a wide variety of PA? How can health practitioners accurately work out what motivates people to participate in PA?

Understanding participation motivation is crucial to help people enhance their motivation and increase the amount of PA they undertake. This will not only ensure that individual can then reap the myriad health benefits, but it will also reduce numerous lifestyle related illness that are currently plaguing the economic and health systems worldwide.

In this article, I present a questionnaire that will help individuals ascertain their motivational profile. This tool will also help practitioners work out their clients’ motivational profile and help recommend appropriate PA that will increase satisfaction and decrease dropouts.

Physical Activity and Leisure Motivation Scale (PALMS)

The online questionnaire featured below is the 50-item revised Physical Activity and Leisure Motivation Scale (PALMS). PALMS is a measure of motives for participating in PA and leisure, comprising 50 items. Subjects respond to each item on a 5-point Likert scale from 1 (Strongly Disagree) to 5 (Strongly Agree), so higher scores reflect greater motivation.

I strongly suggest that you familiarize yourself with the recommended reading featured at the end of this article.

Recommended Reading

  • Roychowdhury, D. (2022). Motivation in physical activity. In Routledge Encyclopedia of Psychology in the Real World. Routledge. [manuscript in review].
  • Roychowdhury, D., Khoo, S., & Morris, T. (2021, September 30 – October 04). Using profiling of motives to examine individual and group trends in participation in physical activity [Poster presentation]. International Society of Sport Psychology 15th World Congress, Taipei, Taiwan.  
  • Morris, T., & Roychowdhury, D. (2020). Physical activity for health and wellbeing: The role of motives for participation. Health Psychology Report, 8(4), 391 – 407. https://doi.org/10.5114/hpr.2020.100111
  • Roychowdhury, D. (2020). Using physical activity to enhance health outcomes across the life span. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology, 5, 2, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.3390/jfmk5010002
  • Roychowdhury, D. (2019, July). Motivational approaches in promoting physical activity involvement. In Y. Kim (Chair), Holistic approaches to sport and physical activity participation in the Asian context [Invited Symposium]. 15th European Congress of Sport and Exercise Psychology, Munster, Germany.
  • Roychowdhury, D(2018). Functional significance of participation motivation on physical activity involvement. Psychological Thought, 11(1), 9-17. https://doi.org/10.5964/psyct.v11i1.255
  • Roychowdhury, D. (2018). A comprehensive measure of participation motivation: Examining and validating the Physical Activity and Leisure Motivation Scale (PALMS). Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 13(1), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.14198/jhse.2018.131.20
  • Morris, T., & Roychowdhury, D. (2015, July). Motives for participation in physical activity: Measurement, prediction, and profiling. In T. Morris (Chair), Motives for participation in physical activity: Measurement, prediction, and profiling [Invited Symposium]. 14th European Congress of Sport Psychology, Bern, Switzerland. https://dx.doi.org/10.7892/boris.71978
  • Roychowdhury, D. (2013, July). Understanding participation motivation in physical activity [Paper Presentation]. 13th International Society of Sport Psychology World Congress, Beijing, China.
  • Roychowdhury, D. (2012). Examining reasons for participation in sport and exercise using the Physical Activity and Leisure Motivation Scale (PALMS) [Doctoral dissertation]. Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

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