Physical activity context: Preferences of university students


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Abstract

Objective:The primary purpose was to determine the physical activity contexts rated as most and least preferable by university students for both aerobic activity and weight training. Secondary purposes were to determine whether gender and/or social physique anxiety (SPA) influence the preferences for these contexts.Method:University students (n=403 females and 198 males) identified their most and least preferable contexts for aerobic activity and weight training from four options: (a) exercising in a structured class, (b) exercising with others outside of a structured class setting, (c) exercising on one's own in an exercise setting, and (d) exercising completely alone.Results:Engaging in physical activity with others outside of a structured class setting was identified as the most preferred context by a significantly greater number of male and female participants than the other three contexts (p<.001). Exercising completely alone was identified as the least preferred physical activity context by a significantly greater number of females than the other three contexts (p<.001). Exercising in structured exercise classes was rated as the least preferable physical activity context by significantly more males than the other three contexts (p<.001); thus, gender was found to influence preferences. Finally, SPA was not found to influence the physical activity context preferences of participants.Conclusion:The results of the present study offer insight into conditions beneficial to the development of effective physical activity interventions.

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