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Alternative Title

Perceived barriers to and perceived benefits of participation in physical activity

Publication Date


First Advisor

Barbara Brehm-Curtis

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science


Exercise and Sport Studies


Exercise, Running-Physiological aspects, Physical activity, Running


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to identify the common perceived barriers to and perceived benefits of exercise among adults who voluntarily participate in an 8-10 weeklong 5k running training program called No Boundaries. This study also investigated if No Boundaries participants’ perceived benefits and perceived barriers to exercise are affected by demographic criteria including age, sex, ethnicity, and history of exercise participation.

Methods: Survey participants were identified through No Boundaries 5k training programs during the Fall of 2015.The participating population was comprised of male and female recreational runners of varied experience ranging from 23 years old to 80 years old. The survey consists of a total of 43 items, 29 of which are benefits and 14 of which are barriers. Participants are asked to rate each barrier item or benefit item on a four-point likert scale, from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’. The responses from the questionnaires were scored for perceived barriers and perceived benefits. Statistical calculations included descriptive statistics, ANOVA, and Factor Analysis.

Results: Sex, age, and ethnicity had an effect on perceived barrier item score while age, sex, history of exercise participation, and prior participation in No Boundaries had an effect on perceived benefit item score. No difference was found in perceived benefits between adults who are motivated to exercise and adults who are not motivated to exercise. There may be a difference between the perceived barriers to exercise between the two groups.

Discussion: Common perceived barriers to exercise identified in this study suggest the possibility that once adults begin to exercise, find enjoyment in the activity, and experience a shift in perceived barriers, they may become more likely to continue to exercise.




58 pages : color illustrations. Includes bibliographical references (pages 52-58)