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Med Sci Monit. 2005 Apr;11(4):CR171-6. Epub 2005 Mar 24.

Physical activity context and university student's propensity to meet the guidelines Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/American College of Sports Medicine.

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The University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada.



Previous research shows that exercise context is important for exercise adherence--exercising alone is associated with reduced adherence whereas exercising with others is associated with increased adherence. The purpose of the study was to examine whether exercising in one or a combination of four contexts for physical activity (in a structured class, with others outside of a structured class, alone but in an exercise setting, and completely alone) is related to the degree to which university students meet prescribed (i.e., CDC/ACSM) guidelines for aerobic activity.


Males (n=196) and females (n=398) completed a self-reported physical activity questionnaire pertaining to the frequency, intensity and duration of their activity in the four contexts outlined above.


A positive relationship was found between the percentage of students meeting CDC/ACSM Guidelines and the number of contexts in which physical activity was undertaken. That is, a small percentage (9.9%) were active in a single context (i.e., only one context out of a possible four), with the majority of those (5.9%) engaging in physical activity with others outside of a structured setting. A larger percentage (28.9%) were active in two contexts, while 61.2% were active in three or more contexts.


Health care professionals interested in motivating the physically inactive to become more active and the physically active to maintain activity at a frequency, intensity, and duration sufficient to meet the CDC/ACSM guidelines ought to promote opportunities for physical activity in a variety of social contexts.

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