Exploring the Relationship between College Students’ Barriers to Exercise and Motivation

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Background: Demographics among college students are becoming increasingly diverse and the enrollment of students who are considered "nontraditional" is on the rise. Traditional and nontraditional students are faced with numerous physical activity barriers and increased responsibilities when it comes to balancing school, work, and physical activity. The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between college students' barriers to exercise and motivation among traditional and nontraditional students. Furthermore, the study explored the relationships between college students' barriers to exercise and motivation among males and females. Methods: Participants (n = 217) completed the Barriers to Being Active Questionnaire, the Psychological Need Satisfaction in Exercise Questionnaire, and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Results: The study found there were no differences among motivational factors, barriers to exercise, and traditional and nontraditional students. Females in this study reported significantly higher ratings of barriers compared to males. However, they reported higher ratings in the competence construct of Self-Determination Theory as compared to males. Conclusions: The current study, revealed traditional and nontraditional students, as well as males and females, all reported the same top three barriers to exercise that include: lack of time, energy, and willpower. Understanding college students' motivation and barriers to physical activity is an important step in developing strategies to help them enhance their health and well-being. With the help of health professionals, college students can learn how to overcome these barriers.


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American Journal of Health Studies

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