Journal of Physical Activity Research
ISSN (Print): 2576-1919 ISSN (Online): 2574-4437 Website: Editor-in-chief: Peter Hart
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Journal of Physical Activity Research. 2020, 5(1), 14-22
DOI: 10.12691/jpar-5-1-4
Open AccessArticle

Affective Benefits are as Important as the Awareness of Improved Health as Motivators to be Physically Active

M. Felicia Cavallini1, , Lexi M. Noti1, Taylor G. Gomes1 and & David J. Dyck2

1Limestone College, Department of Physical Education, Gaffney, South Carolina, USA

2University of Guelph, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Pub. Date: June 16, 2020

Cite this paper:
M. Felicia Cavallini, Lexi M. Noti, Taylor G. Gomes and & David J. Dyck. Affective Benefits are as Important as the Awareness of Improved Health as Motivators to be Physically Active. Journal of Physical Activity Research. 2020; 5(1):14-22. doi: 10.12691/jpar-5-1-4


Most people are aware of the health benefits associated with physical activity (PA). Nonetheless, most Americans and Canadians do not meet the recommended PA guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous PA plus 2 or more strengthening activities per week. The purpose of this study was to explore and compare the top motivators of PA for adults in Southern Ontario and South Carolina. In addition to better health, it was hypothesized that affective motivators such as “feeling good and happier afterwards” would be indicated as preferred motivator towards exercise. Focus group facilitated discussions were conducted with 234 people from Southwestern Ontario and 175 people from South Carolina representing various focus groups. Guiding questions included their beliefs, attitudes, opinions, and attitudes on motivators to PA and exercise including their main motivators to want to participate in physical activity. Surveys were distributed in Southern Ontario and South Carolina to individuals 18 years of age and older from the same community groups where the focus group data were initially collected. Both Canadian and American adults residing in Southern Ontario and South Carolina indicated the same top 3 barriers: i) better health, ii) feeling good and happier afterwards, and iii) losing or maintaining my weight. Interestingly, not even making the top five were exercising with a friend or group and personally impacted by negative consequences of health. The results indicate that while people realize better health is a positive outcome when engaged in day to day PA, it is the affective benefits of PA that are equally or even more important. The successful promotion of PA, in order to reach as many people as possible, should focus not only on the physical health benefits, but affective outcomes such as feeling good, enjoying the PA experience, developing confidence and a higher level of self-esteem.

affective motivators physical activity exercise adherence Canadian American

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