Academic journal article College Student Journal

Physical Activity Behavior and Attitudes toward Involvement among Physical Education, Health, and Leisure Services Pre-Professionals

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Physical Activity Behavior and Attitudes toward Involvement among Physical Education, Health, and Leisure Services Pre-Professionals

Article excerpt

The present study investigated leisure time physical activity behavior and attitudes/reasons for involvement among physical education (n=41), health (n=44), and leisure services (n=46) pre-professionals. Physical education majors reported significantly higher exercise intensity than did health and leisure services majors. Males reported higher exercise intensity than females. Physical education majors' scores for the fun/enjoyment involvement reason were higher than health and leisure services majors. Health and leisure services majors' competition reason scores were higher than physical education majors. Females' competition reason scores were higher than males while scores for males on fun/enjoyment and challenge/achievement were higher than females. Overall, participants reported lower scores for competition than for other reasons for participating in leisure time physical activity.

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The importance of being physically active cannot be overstated. Years of research evidence supporting the relationship between good health and participation in physical activity was recently summarized and published in the United States Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 1996). The Surgeon General recommends daily participation in physical activity for maximum health benefits because inactivity has been found to be significantly related to coronary artery disease (Paffenbarger, Wing, & Hyde, 1982), obesity (Bjorntorp, 1993), hypertension (Paffenbarger, Wing, & Hyde, 1983), and diabetes mellitus (Kriska et al., 1990).

The Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health (CDC, 1996) indicates that only 40% of adults are physically active and only 15% participate in leisure time physical activity at the minimum frequency and duration (three times a week for at least 20 minutes) recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine (1991) for maximum health benefits. Also, only 50% of people 12-21 years of age engage in regular leisure time physical activity for the recommended frequency and duration. Some researchers report even lower participation levels (Heath & Smith, 1994; Page, 1987; Schultz, Harper, Smith, Kriska, & Ravussin, 1994;) and exercise intensities (Dinger & Waigandt, 1997; Schultz et al., 1994). Activity choices most frequently reported by the physically active, regardless of exercise intensity, are: running, jogging, or walking; weight lifting; aerobic exercise; bicycling; and, swimming or other water activities (Bian, 1999; Blank, DePauw, Peavy, & Meadows, 1993; CDC, 1996; Heath & Smith, 1994; Pinto & Marcus., 1995).

One way to better understand participation behavior is to identify individuals' attitudes about or reasons for involvement in physic, al activities (Ebbeck, Gibbons, & Loken-Dahle, 2000). According to research, one of the main reasons for college students' and young adults' leisure time physical activity involvement is health and fitness (Blair, 1984; Bungum & Morrow, 2000; Ebbeck et al., 2000; Koslow, 1988; Mathes & Battista, 1985; Quarterman, Harris, & Chew, 1996; Soudan & Everett, 1981). Other reasons include social, competition, or relaxation. Regardless of the reason for involvement, it is important to remember that participation levels nation-wide are low (CDC, 1996).

Some researchers contend that college programs designed to promote participation in leisure time physical activity and positive attitudes toward activity can be effective in helping young adults adopt a physically active lifestyle (Adams & Brynteson, 1992; Brynteson & Adams, 1993; Slava, Laurie, & Corbin, 1984). Post-secondary programs specifically designed to educate pre-professionals in fields that either directly or indirectly promote the benefits of involvement in leisure time physical activity also constitute a main avenue for reaching the public with the participation message. …

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