Stress is a leading cause of burnout in working professionals, including athletic trainers (ATs). One consequence of burnout for ATs is lower perceptions of well-being, which has implications for mental and physical health. Physical activity is shown to help reduce stress. Thus, activity may help reduce stress and burnout in ATs, while enhancing well-being.


To examine a theoretically based mediating model whereby leisure time physical activity was linked to subjective well-being by way of ATs' perceived stress and burnout.


Cross-Sectional Study.


Practicing certified ATs completed an online survey during the fall sports season.

Patients or Other Participants

Practicing certified ATs (N = 163; mean age = 30.5 + 6.7 years).

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Participants completed a survey that measured leisure time planned physical activity, work-related stress, burnout, and perceived life satisfaction. Measures were completed online via a secure link. Latent variable analysis was used to examine the hypothesized mediating model.


Minutes spent in moderate or vigorous activity was not associated with stress. Minutes spent walking was negatively associated with perceived stress (β = −0.18, p < 0.001). Stress was positively associated with exhaustion (β = 0.89, p < 0.001), negatively associated with personal accomplishment (β = −0.70, p < 0.001), and positively associated with depersonalization (β = 0.71, p < 0.001). Exhaustion was negatively associated (β = −0.57, p < 0.001) and personal accomplishment was positively associated (β = 0.31, p = 0.013) with well-being. Minutes spent walking was positively linked to well-being via stress and exhaustion. The negative relationship between stress and well-being was mediated by exhaustion and personal accomplishment.


Leisure time walking was indirectly and positively linked to well-being. Walking could be a strategy to reduce stress and burnout in ATs and therefore improve well-being.

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