Previous research has established a link between exercise and executive functions. However, how personality, motivation, and self-regulation can influence this association have been little investigated. Studies investigating in these aspects have shown that physically active individuals are more extrovert, conscientious and open to new experiences than sedentary individuals. Those who are sedentary tend to show more neuroticism and less self-regulation. In this chapter, the literature exploring these aspects is reviewed. In addition, a study to examine the impact of these factors in physically active and sedentary young adults is presented. The Big Five Inventory, the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory, the Achievement Motivation scales, and the Adult Temperament Questionnaire were administered to evaluate personality, motivation, and self-regulation. The results revealed that active participants significantly differed from sedentary participants in terms of personality showing higher emotional stability, extraversion, and openness to experiences, in addition to greater inhibitory control (self-regulation). Associations between better control of emotions and impulses and cognitive control were also explored, finding a significant correlation between them. Some guidance is included to help health providers to design physical activity programs to promote cardiovascular exercise in populations with high levels of inactivity.
Part of the book: Sport Psychology in Sports, Exercise and Physical Activity