Academic journal article Physical Educator

Physical Educators' Habitual Physical Activity and Self-Efficacy for Regular Exercise

Academic journal article Physical Educator

Physical Educators' Habitual Physical Activity and Self-Efficacy for Regular Exercise

Article excerpt

In the United States, the national physical education (PE) teacher education standards (National Association for Sport and Physical Education [NASPE], 2008) and proposed revisions (Society of Health and Physical Educators [SHAPE America], 2016) emphasize, among other competencies, that physical educators should exemplify the characteristics of a physically literate individual. A physically literate individual possesses the knowledge, skill, and confidence necessary for a physically active lifestyle (SHAPE America, 2014). There is an abundance of literature concerning students' habitual physical activity (PA) and self-efficacy for participating in exercise, but no existing research has explored this relationship for PE teachers. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine PE teachers' habitual PA and self-efficacy for regular exercise.

From an occupational health perspective, PE teachers have been the focus of a few previous studies. Sandmark, Wiktorin, Hogstedt, Klenel-Hatschek, and Vingard (1999) examined the physical workload of 30 PE teachers and found the physical load on the lower extremities, back, and cardiovascular system was relatively high. More recently, Trudeau, Laurencelle, and Lajoie (2015) reported that although physical educators' absolute energy expenditure at work was low to moderate, they often had periods of vigorous PA. In summary, it seems the occupational aspects related to the PE teacher profession can generate episodes of moderate and vigorous PA. However, the total accumulated PA amount is not clear.

Although occupational PA contributes to overall PA participation (Bensley & VanEenwyk, 2011), high occupational PA levels are not necessarily associated with desirable health outcomes. For example, Holtermann et al. (2012) reported that high occupational PA might be associated with a higher rate of all-cause mortality, particularly among men with low leisure-time PA. Similarly, Bahls et al. (2015) reported that voluntary PA was associated with a reduced risk for all-cause mortality, but occupational PA was not. This suggests that the benefits of PA may differ depending on the type. As such, total habitual PA, including voluntary and occupational having different effects on health, warrants further investigation.

Self-efficacy has been identified as an important direct and indirect predictor for PA participation in a variety of populations (Dishman et al., 2005; McAuley et al., 2005). Based on social cog- nitive theory, self-efficacy refers to a person's confidence in his or her capacity to execute behaviors or achieve a specific outcome (Bandura, 1997). According to Bandura (1994), human accomplishments can be enhanced by a strong sense of self-efficacy, and those individuals with strong confidence in their abilities approach difficult tasks as "challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided" (p. 1). Research regarding teacher efficacy has primarily focused on the association with positive teaching behaviors (e.g., trying new instructional ideas and/or better classroom management) and student achievement (Goddard, Hoy, & Hoy, 2004; Ross, 1998). No past study has reported teachers' self-efficacy in relation to their health-related behaviors such as engagement in habitual PA.

For PE teachers in particular, engagement in regular PA is not only a professional expectation (NASPE, 2008; SHAPE America, 2014), but also necessary for receiving health-related benefits of PA. As adults who interact with students in PA contexts regularly, physical educators are likely role models and/or significant adult figures in motivating children to participate in sports and PA (Warnick, 2009). Therefore, physical educators' self-efficacy and PA merit research from health and professional perspectives. Through examining physical educators' habitual PA and self-efficacy for regular exercise, this study represents an important initial step toward quantifying physical educators' total PA participation and identifying the contribution of self-efficacy, among other factors. …

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