Physical activity and nutrition in relation to resilience: a cross-sectional study

1 Februar 2024


A healthy lifestyle is often discussed as being a characteristic of or a prerequisite for quality of life. In phases of high subjective stress (work overload, negative thoughts), however, its protective function can be limited. The two present survey studies examined two facets of a health-related lifestyle (physical activity and nutritional awareness), in particular, the correlations with general life satisfaction and their adaptive function in respect to stress (resilience). In addition, because episodes of increased stress can have a negative effect on eating, the interactions with the consumption of less healthy food were examined. Two cross-sectional studies were conducted successively with adults aged between 18 and 72 in Germany. Study 1 (N = 685) examined the research questions with correlations, moderated regression analyses, and structural equation models. Study 2 (N = 628) differentiated between sport, occupational and daily activities. Study 1 showed that the amount of physical activity and nutritional awareness are correlated with life satisfaction. The relationship between stress appraisals and general life satisfaction was moderated by physical activity and nutritional awareness (stress-buffer effect). Study 2 replicated the stress-buffer effects of nutritional awareness, daily activities, and occupational activities. Both studies showed that stress is associated with consumption of less healthy food and found interactions with physical activity and nutritional awareness. Discussed are the adaptive role of physical activity and nutritional awareness in times of stress.