Exercise Motivation: The Role of Gender, Age, and Body Mass Index

By Christy Teranishi Martinez, Kayla Gillespie and Shirah Bale.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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Motivation is a key factor in determining whether a person will maintain a regular exercise routine. Building on developmental and self-determination theories, the present study examines the extent to which gender, age, and body mass index (BMI) predict exercise motivation. One hundred twelve participants (52 males, 60 females) completed a survey assessing demographic characteristics, BMI, and exercise motivation (EMI2; Markland and Ingledew 1997). Results indicated that men were more motivated to exercise for competition, while women were more motivated for weight management and appearance. Age was positively related to exercise motivation for revitalization, weight management, nimbleness, and avoiding illness. Multiple regression analyses indicated that being female and higher BMI predicted greater exercise motivation for appearance and weight management. Being female, age, and higher BMI predicted exercise motivation for health pressures and to avoid illness. Findings underscore the importance of internalizing the inherent value of exercise in our daily routine in order to enhance health and well-being throughout the lifespan.

Keywords: Exercise, Motivation, Physical Activity, Well-being

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 4, Issue 2, March 2015, pp.55-66. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 660.291KB).

Dr. Christy Teranishi Martinez

Associate Professor of Psychology, Psychology, California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, CA, USA

Kayla Gillespie

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA

Shirah Bale

Graduate Student, Clinical Psychology, California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks, California, USA

Shirah Bale, B.A. is a second-year doctoral student in clinical psychology at California Lutheran University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University Channel Islands. Her current research interests include health psychology, particularly, exercise motivation, obesity management, and post-bariatric surgery compliance and success. In her down time, Shirah enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with family and friends.