Let's Move Tip of the Week

Determinants of exercise and physical therapy

Determinants of exercise and physical activity are different for every person. Age, gender, education, income, self-efficacy, enjoyment, self-schemata, lack of time, exercise history, and social support are some of the many variables that are consistently related to physical activity and exercise levels (Buckworth et al., 2002). Steptoe et al. (1997) assessed 16,483 participants and found that physical inactivity was significantly associated with smoking, unsatisfactory sleep time, failure to lose weight, low social support, and depression.

Furthermore, Buckworth, (2002) states that self-efficacy, which is someone’s belief in his or her ability to engage successfully in a specific behavior with a known outcome, is the most consistent predictor of exercise habits. 

Overall, participation in physical activity decreases with increasing age (Buckworth, 2002). Middle adulthood (30-64 years) is associated with the lowest levels of regular vigorous activity and strengthening exercises; however during retirement, there are some improvements (Caspersen, Pereira, & Curran, 2000). Therefore, as we get older, we must consider what our barriers are to participating in regular physical activity and how we might overcome them.

 “Let’s Move” TIP OF THE WEEK

Even the simplest of measures can help incorporate physical activity into your daily life. For example, a study in the US found that 86.9% of people travel to work by car, 7.2% by bus, and only a combined 5.9% either walk or bike to work (HHL, 2005). Try to walk, run or cycle for short travel distances instead of taking your car; maybe even park farther than usual.

Don’t forget, you are the number one determinant in your own physical activity choices. If you want to stay active take a step toward making “active transport” the preferred choice for daily travel.

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