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J Am Coll Health. 2005 Sep-Oct;54(2):87-94.

College students' motivation for physical activity: differentiating men's and women's motives for sport participation and exercise.

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Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, USA.


Despite the many clear benefits of an active lifestyle, lack of physical activity is a significant health problem in the college population. A key issue in physical activity research is developing an understanding of motivation. Although physical activity takes many forms, most research designed to enhance motivation for and adherence to physical activity focuses on exercise behavior and ignores sport participation. In this study, the authors compare motivations for sport participation versus exercise among college students. Results indicate that participants were more likely to report intrinsic motives, such as enjoyment and challenge, for engaging in sport, whereas motivations for exercise were more extrinsic and focused on appearance and weight and stress management. The findings suggest that motives for sport participation are more desirable than those for exercise and may facilitate improved adherence to physical activity recommendations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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