Physical exercise is tied to emotion-related impulsivity: insights from correlational analyses in healthy humans

Florian Javelle, Anke Vogel, Sylvain Laborde, Max Oberste-Frielinghaus, Matthew Watson, Philipp Zimmer

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Seminal work has found a negative association between physical exercise and impulsivity levels in humans. This paper aims to strengthen these findings by evaluating the association between the amount of self-reported physical exercise per week and emotion-related impulsivity whilst considering age and gender as covariates on a large-scale dataset. Participants completed an online self-report questionnaire about emotion-related impulsivity (i.e. Feelings Trigger Action) and exercise-related questions. After quality control, 773 participants were included in the analysis. Correlational analyses and a multiple regression model explaining the emotion-related impulsivity scores via the amount of exercise per week and demographic characteristics (i.e. age and gender) were performed. The number of hours spent exercising per week was significantly inversely correlated with the Feelings Trigger Action score (r = −.131, p < .001) and two out of its three subscales. The multiple linear regression model showed that hours of exercise per week and gender were significantly associated with the Feelings Trigger Action score (std. β = −.122, p < .001), however, this model explained only 3.2% of the overall variance. This large-scale dataset confirms seminal work displaying an inverse association between emotion-related impulsivity and hours of exercise per week. Further studies are required to understand the mechanisms underlying the relationship between the two variables.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 03.05.2022

Research areas and keywords

  • Exercise
  • behaviour
  • gender
  • health


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