Physical Activity and Sports in College Essay

Physical Activity and Sports in College Essay

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This study investigated the motivations for people to engage in exercise or sports and whether these factors differ between the two types of physical activity and by genders. The researchers hypothesized that people will be more likely enjoy and therefore to continue to engage in physical activity in the form of sports than in the form of exercise. Researching motivation for physical activity is essential for designing programs to encourage such habits in American college students, who are not often sufficiently active from a health perspective. The hypothesis was based on earlier studies comparing motivation for different forms of physical activity. Since these studies were few and not very comprehensive in accounting for sources of motivation, the authors wanted to explore the issue in more detail. The study was correlational and survey-based. College students enrolled in lower level health classes at a large, state school rated their physical activity habits including the frequency, duration, and level of perceived exertion with which they engaged in sports and exercise respectively. Sports was defined to include the elements of rules and competitiveness while exercise was defined in terms of the goal of achieving fitness. Participants also completed two versions of the Exercise Motivation Inventory-2 (EMI-2) questionnaire— one for sports and one for exercise—rating their level of motivation on multiple items in 14 subscales such as Challenge, Enjoyment, Health pressure, etc.
In terms of physical activity habits the researchers found that participants played sports more often than they exercised and that exercise on average involved more exertion, but the two types of physical activity were otherwise comparable. MANOVA (multi...


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... for the authors’ claim that people are more likely to stick to playing sports than to continue exercising in the long run. The approach in this study was to determine the kinds of motivation experienced by people when they engage in a particular kind of physical activity. I think an alternative approach could have been used to learn about the kinds of motivation that cause people to choose one kind of physical activity over another. In other words instead of using the types of physical activity as a starting point, the motivations themselves could be used as a starting point, to gain a different perspective. This method of conceptualizing the study is more appealing to me because it seems more direct to say that motivation leads to a particular type of physical activity than to say that this type of physical activity is associated with certain kinds of motivation.

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