The reciprocal influence of exercise on academic performance and relationships

  • Elizabeth Mielke University of Wisconsin – Whitewater
  • Andrea Ednie University of Wisconsin – Whitewater


The current study seeks to better understand exercise habits among the college demographic. It examined the relationships between exercise patterns and aspects of college performance and life. The study explored how exercise influences the lives of college students including relationships, academics and work performance as outlined by Segar (2015). Specifically, the study explored the association between exercise and GPA, as well as the perceived interaction between exercise and academic performance, university and home friendships, and work performance. A survey was completed within a general education course at a midwestern university (81% response rate, N=502). Godin & Shephard’s (1985) validated Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire was used to measure total exercise scores, and measures of perceived exercise benefits were developed for the study based on Segar (2015). One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests, Pearson bivariate correlations, and linear regression analyses were completed to evaluate differences in student GPA based on exercise habits, and the associations between exercise patterns and perceived benefits of exercise on academic performance, friend and family relationships, and work performance. Female participants with higher GPAs were found to report more exercise as compared to those with lower GPAs. The regression analyses found significant associations between the perception that exercise benefits academic performance and actual exercise patterns, and for female students, between the perception that exercise benefits work performance and actual exercise patterns. The results add to existing research on the relationship between exercise and academics by providing context for the college demographic (including exercise patterns and perceptions differences between male and female students), and by applying Segar’s (2015) model of exercise benefits. Implications suggest strategies universities may implement in order to apply Segar’s (2015) theory to fitness marketing and programming.

How to Cite
Mielke, E., & Ednie, A. (2018). The reciprocal influence of exercise on academic performance and relationships. Journal of Kinesiology & Wellness, 7(1), 4-16. Retrieved from