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Perceived exercise benefits and barriers in graduate students

18 July 2012


An important factor in weight management is physical activity. Currently only about one-fourth of both adults and high school students in the United States meet recommended physical activity levels (Rachette, Deusinger, Strub, Highstein, & Deusinger, 2005). Research examining health behaviors in college students found undergraduates have overall low physical activity levels and poor nutritional habits (Waldron & Dieser, 2010). The goal of this research study was to examine graduate students’ beliefs about benefits and barriers to exercise, as well as to examine the role exercise plays in self-identity for graduate students. It was hypothesized that graduate students would identify significantly more exercise benefits than exercise barriers and that graduate students who identify exercise as a large part of their role identity would engage in significantly more physical activity. Results showed that graduate students identified more barriers to exercise than benefits, and that the mean score on the Exercise Identity Scale (EIS) was a significant predictor of frequency of engagement in physical activity. Future research should include novice ways to increase graduate students’ engagement in physical activity and consideration of embarrassment to engage in exercise.


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