Exercising Better, Together
Despite the highly recognized benefits of physical activity, recent surveys have shown that the majority of Canadians do not meet reasonable physical activity guidelines.
Participating in group activities at both the recreational and competitive level is a major part of maintaining an active lifestyle. Canadians, for example, typically take part in team sports such as ice hockey, soccer, volleyball and baseball. Many of Canada’s favourite ”individual” activities (e.g., golf, running) also take place in group settings.
Canada Research Chair in Group Dynamics and Physical Activity Dr. Mark Eys is studying the underlying dynamics of sport and exercise groups, with the ultimate goal of creating effective interventions to increase individual physical activity levels and improve group performance in sports.
A number of issues are important to consider when examining sport and exercise groups. These include the personalities and attributes of a group’s members and leaders, and how well the group engages in processes like co-operation and communication.
Eys specifically focuses on how physical activity groups develop cohesion. Cohesion represents a powerful group property that can influence retention of members and group performance. In addition, Eys is investigating the degree to which individual members understand and accept the responsibilities of their roles.
Eys’s work provides insight into what makes groups effective, and applies this knowledge to modify behaviour. A greater understanding of physical activity groups will improve exercise and sport programming, and help Canadians maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.