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Kinesiology and Physical Education


Background: 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.

Material/Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusions: 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 suffi cient to meet the CDC/ACSM guidelines ought to promote opportunities for physical activity in a variety of social contexts.


This article was originally published in Medical Science Monitor, 11(4):CR171-176. Copyright © 2017 the authors. Reproduced with permission and made available under a Creative Common Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Licence.