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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2016 October;56(10):1239-48


language: English

Levels of physical activity, motivation and barriers to participation in university students

Javier SEVIL 1, Alba PRÁXEDES 2, Alberto ABARCA-SOS 3, Fernando DEL VILLAR 2, Luis GARCÍA-GONZÁLEZ 1

1 Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Zaragoza, Huesca, Spain; 2 Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain; 3 Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Zaragoza, Teruel, Spain


BACKGROUND: Grounded in self-determination theory and trans-theoretical model applied to exercise, the aim of this study was to analyse the existing relationships between physical activity (PA) carried out by university students, perceived barriers to PA, motivation to PA and stages of change.
METHODS: 901 Spanish students took part in the study (408 men, 493 women; mean age 22.59±3.59), who completed the Behavioural Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire (BREQ-3), Scale of Barriers to PA, Stages of Change and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire - Short Form (IPAQ-SF).
RESULTS: Noteworthy among the findings is the positive relationship between the more autonomous regulation forms, especially integrated regulation, and the moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) levels. However, barriers to participatrion are negatively related to PA levels and the more self-determined forms of motivation. Finally, students in action and maintenance stages, and those who comply with the recommendations on PA present higher values in the more self-determined motivation forms and lower values in barriers to participation in PA.
CONCLUSIONS: The study shows the importance of addressing the analysis of variables associated with engagement in PA in the university population to develop healthy policies and intervention programmes that can establish a series of healthy and more active habits in the youth-adult stage. The appropriateness of promoting more self-determined motivation forms is highlighted, especially integrated regulation, to have an impact on higher levels of MVPA.

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