What Motivates People To Participate? | The 50 Zone Magazine : Mens Information On Wellness, Health, Weight Loss, Nutrition, Women, Style And Fashion


What motivates people to participate?

Bob Gurney – PhD, C. Mgr. www.nav4success.org

What motivates people to participate in exercise/physical activity and what are the barriers to participation in exercise/physical activity?

What motivates people to participate in exercise/physical activity and what are the barriers to participation in exercise/physical activity? The current literature appears to be extensive in addressing these questions however, previous research in this area lacked an understanding of motivation in the context of exercise behavior (McEwen, 1993; Haq and Griffin, 1996). Plonczynski (2000) reviewed 22 studies (mid to late 1990s) that measured motivation for exercise engagement. The studies were evaluated through criteria of types of instruments, reliability and validity. Plonczynski (2000) concluded that the studies reviewed were lacking in research design, administration and interpretation, and recommends a need to improve the theoretical applications of studies for both prediction and explanation of physical activity behaviors.

In a study of motivators and barriers to exercise and participation in sport, in metropolitan Madrid Spain, Rodriguez-Romo, Boned-Pascual, and Garrido-Munoz (2009) found that the most frequently cited motivators were fun, stay in shape and health, while barriers cited were demands of work and family, and lack of time. Motivators and barriers to participation in physical activity (Bragg, Tucker, Kaye and Desmond, 2009) were investigated through focus group sessions of participants in two groups (Group 1 = mean age of 14; Group 2 = mean age of 34). The motivators and barriers of this study were identified by focus group participants as: social influence (motivators); time and priorities (barriers); physical environment (both motivators and barriers); fun and enjoyment (motivators); inherently physical activities (motivators); weight concerns (motivators); fatigue (barriers), physical discomfort and current fitness level (barriers); and immediate positive feelings (motivators).

Adults between 74 and 85 years of age reported that motivators and barriers to participating in exercise/physical activity were associated with internal factors, such as pain and depression (Cohen-Mansfield, Marx and Guralnik, 2003). A more recent study (Buman, Yasova and Giacobbi, 2010) of older aged participants, indicate reporting of unpleasant experiences, weight gain, and fear of injury as barriers to participating in physical activity. In this same study, motivators to participate in physical activity were linked to positive experiences in life activities from a young age. A more current study of exercise motivation and relationships with exercise frequency, intensity and duration (Duncan, Hall, Wilson and Jenny, 2010) of approximately 1100 students (mean age = 24) found that there was a positive relationship between the construction of values and goals with exercise behaviors of frequency, intensity and duration. These researchers concluded that practitioners need to develop exercise programs to facilitate the exercise motives identities of participants to support their exercise engagements.

To help us understand motivators and barriers to physical activity, we request your participation in completing our survey questionnaire (should take less than 10 minutes) 

Click here for survey. >>


– Buman, M. P., Yasova, L. D., and Giacobbie, P. R. (2010) Descriptive and narrative reports of barriers and motivators to physical activity in sedentary older adults. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 11 (3) 223 – 230.

– Cohen-Mansfield, J., Marx, M. S., and Guralnik, J. M. (2003). Motivators and barriers to exercise in an older community-dwelling population. Journal of Aging & Physical Activity. 11 (2) 242 -253.

– Duncan, L. R., Hall, C. R., Wilson, P. M. and Jenny, O. (2010) Exercise motivation: a cross-sectional analysis examining it relationships with frequency, intensity, and duration of exercise. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 7, 7-15.

– Gabriel, R-R; Boned-Pascual, C., and Garrido-Muñoz, M. (2009) Reasons for and barriers to exercising and sports participation in Madrid. (English).Pan American Journal of Public Health. 26 (3) 244 – 254.

– Haq, M. B. and Griffin, M. (1996) Health motivation: key to health promoting behavior? The Nurse Practitioner. 21, 155-156.

Author: Bob Gurney

Email: navigatingforsuccess11@gmail.com



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