Why do you exercise? Preliminary findings from the "Aspen Moves! " community-based physical activity intervention


Reasons for exercise (RE) were explored after the first month of initiating a 6-month community-based physical activity intervention. The objectives were to examine the importance of health-related and appearance-related RE after 1-month of the intervention; and to assess the role of sex, age, BMI and physical activity status (PA) on RE. Eighty-eight adults (M age = 43.39 years, M BMI = 25.89 kg/m2, N = 30 men, N = 58 women) completed baseline measures. Demographics and the RE Inventory (Silberstein, et al., 1988) were assessed. Participants rated the importance of 24 items representing seven RE domains (weight control, body tone, attractiveness, mood, health, fitness, and enjoyment). Descriptive statistics were assessed. Separate one-way between-group MANOVAs were conducted to investigate sex (male/female), age (above/below 50th percentile), BMI (healthy/overweight-obese) and PA (active/inactive) according to the seven RE domains. Follow-up ANOVAs were conducted when MANOVAs were significant. Differences between age (F(7,73)=4.40, p=.001; Wilks'=.70; partial eta square=.30) and BMI (F(7,73)=2.64, p=.02; Wilks' =.80; partial eta square=.20) were statistically significant according to RE. Follow-up analysis indicated health (F(1,79)=6.85, p=.01; partial eta square=.08) was more important to older (M = 6.17) than younger participants (M = 5.65). After applying a Bonferroni correction to the follow-up ANOVAs, RE was not significantly according to BMI. Health and appearance RE will be examined across the intervention to assess changes over time according to physical activity and demographic factors. Understanding RE over an exercise initiative supports goal-setting, program development and recruitment for both research and practice.