Gender is A Factor in Motivation to Exercise
- To promote positive body image
- Presence of confidence in personal ability to use exercise equipment
- Preference for aerobic exercise (e.g., running or swimming)
Another study comparing the influence of gender on exercise behavior was conducted at Temple University in Philadelphia (April 2010). Researchers studied 906 marathon runners. They found that female marathon runners were more likely to focus on the achievement of personal goals (e.g., improvement of mood and overall mental and physical health) to motivate their participation, while men were more likely to emphasize competition as a predominate motivator.
The findings of these recent studies support similar results from investigations conducted in the past. Women tend to exercise more for health and fitness reasons. Men concentrate more on numbers (e.g., number of pounds lifted during weight training) and competition (e.g., overall placement in a race).
Why is this information important? It is a reminder that there is not a "one-size fits all" approach when it comes to exercise. Understanding the factors that play a role in motivation can help individuals to set personal fitness goals and to develop a plan to achieve those goals.
Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.
MedicineNet.com "Are Male Marathoners More Competitive Than Women?" April 17, 2010, Preidt. R
Indiana University Media Relations, February 2007 "The Exercise Hook: It's different for men and women." Stednit,. B. and Arvin, C.
Percept Mot Skills, 1998 Apr;86(2):723-32, "Sex differences in exercise motivation and body-image satisfaction among college students," Smith, B.L. et al,.