Exercising change : investigating the changes in physical activity of undergraduate students




O'Connor, Megan Diane

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When it comes to researching the physical activity levels of college students, there seem to be very few studies that truly depict and show the ranges of physical activity throughout a college student’s life. This statement has helped propelled me to collect and analyze data in order to see what the physical activity is like for an undergraduate college student at the University of Texas.
Researchers have discovered that many college students have reported understanding the benefits of physical activity, but that they report that there are many barriers in their daily life that thrust physical activity into the backseat as a priority (Lopez, Gallegos, & Extremera, 2010). Knowing that some college students will ignore physical activity, regardless of the health-related benefits, urges us to further discover the attitude of college students towards physical activity and what factors seem to have the most affect, whether positively or negatively, when it comes to their decisions on physical activity. Many university students decrease their PA levels (Gyurcsik, Bray, & Brittain, 2004; Keating et al., 2005; McArthur & Raedeke, 2009). Knowing this, I seek to answer the question, “What happens to the levels of physical activity throughout an undergraduate student’s life and what are the contributing factors to their level of physical activity?” Researchers noted that a healthy college-aged student should be participating in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 days per week (Nelson, 2007). My thesis is an analysis of daily and weekly activity, as well as what kinds of physical activity college students like and do not, the way in which they participate, either independently or with friends, as well as where they partake in physical activity. My subjects answered questions based on their physical activity levels throughout their college years. The subjects ranged between first and fifth year undergraduate students, which allowed me to get some insight as to how their physical activity levels have changed throughout the duration of their college careers.



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