Women, Men, and Exercise: A Quantitative Examination of Gender and Exercise

By Lynn Katherine Herrmann.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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The purpose of this study was to explore how gender and exercise related to each other using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). Female (N = 308) and male (N = 131) undergraduate and graduate students at a large Midwestern American university completed a validated TPB and exercise survey. Additionally, a subset (N = 41) of the study population was divided into four categories: female group exercise participants, female non-group exercise participants, male group exercise participants, and male non-group exercise participants. Results concluded that women and men had no significant difference in attitudes towards exercise and group exercise. Regarding subjective norms, women and men felt more peer support and approval for exercise than group exercise classes. Female and male non-group exercise participants experienced less peer support for group exercise classes than exercise. Male non-group exercise participants experienced the least peer support and approval for group exercise classes. Perceived behavioral control was higher for exercise than group exercise classes among women and men. Male non-group exercise participants experienced more control for exercise than group exercise. Fitness professionals should consider subjective norms and perceived behavior control when promoting exercise behavior.

Keywords: Exercise, Gender, Men, Women, Theory of Planned Behavior

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 5, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.13-24. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 456.486KB).

Dr. Lynn Katherine Herrmann

Assistant Professor, Public Health and Health Education, Nursing and Health Studies, College of Health and Human Sciences, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, USA