What influences people s choice of fitness activities?

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1 PDHPE in focus hsc course chapter 3 What influences people s choice of fitness activities? There are many reasons for people choosing the activities they want to participate in; however, their choices are based on many factors, such as time, economical status and other commitments which influence their lifestyles. But for whatever reasons people choose a particular type of activity to do, they all generally believe that exercise will benefit their health. Research studies worldwide have investigated the relationship of fitness among all major groups within society men, women, children, the aged, the disabled, workers, the unemployed, the fit and the unfit and have found consistent results that justify the essential role of fitness development as being positive benefits to people s lifestyles. Figure 3.1 Healthy active people of various ages settings for exercise evaluate the appropriateness of fitness activities to them by investigating: Activity 1 does this fitness activity suit my fitness needs? could I continue to participate in this fitness activity? Why? Why not? are other fitness activities more suitable for me? sample student answer The environmental setting a person chooses to exercise within depends on the type of activity they wish to do. Some may choose to participate in commercial fitness centres where there are specialised instructors and equipment; while others may choose to exercise at home or with community groups. There are of course advantages and disadvantage with whatever setting a person chooses and they need to weigh up what would suit them best in order to achieve the maximum benefits of an exercise program. 214

2 fitness choices chapter 3 exercise at home, eg home gyms Exercising from home can be very convenient. It is also inexpensive because most gym equipment used in a fitness or commercial centre can be bought at a reasonable price and used at home. Such equipment is designed to be compact and easy to assemble; and more importantly is able to be folded and stored away once the person has completed their daily eercise program. Portable exercise equipment such as weight machines, treadmills, exercise bikes and punching bags suit the requirements of a home gym for an individual to maintain their fitness level. The following are some main disadvantages of having home gym equipment: The risk of injury from incorrect use or technique when using the equipment. Keeping self-motivated to exercise on a regular basis. Ensuring a combination of strength and aerobic exercises are included and catered for in the person s program. community facilities Many local councils provide facilities for groups to conduct fitness activities for members within the community. These activities are offered at a reduced cost compared to those offered at a commercial fitness centre, and include activities such as, aerobics, yoga, Pilates, many forms of martial arts, gymnastics, various forms of dance activities, indoor sports and water activities if a swimming pool is available. When local councils build new leisure centres, they often include a large range of multi-purpose activity spaces to facilitate such variety of activities. A big advantage of having these centres is the central location and social interaction with community members. fitness centres and personal trainers The biggest advantage of commercial fitness centres over home gyms is the wide range of supervised and structurally organised activities offered to cater for any individual s exercise program. Personal trainers can design a specialised program to suit the requirements and capabilities of the individual using a large range of equipment and activities. A program may include, rowing machines, treadmills, exercise bikes or step machines for cardiovascular workouts and weight machines and free weights for building strength. Undertaking step classes or circuit training may provide additional benefits of social interaction and cross training. Others may prefer the one-on-one support of a personal trainer throughout a training session. While fitness centres provide services to improve a person s overall health and lifestyle, they are more expensive than that of home gyms or community centres. exercise clubs, eg running, walking and cycling Exercise clubs offer people the opportunity to participate in a particular activity with others who share the same interest. These clubs generally cater for individuals of all levels of abilities, from the novice to those with advanced skills. With specialisation of particular skills it is easier to provide training programs with the correct techniques to help other people develop these skills. Some examples of exercise clubs are: Little Athletics, rowing, swimming, Surf Lifesaving, cycling, distance running and triathlon. Opportunities are available for an individual to begin at a low level of competition or participation, and work their way up to more challenging levels. cultural groups Many exercise clubs are also formed within cultural groups. Australia is a multicultural country and some people feel more comfortable participating in programs that cater for their particular cultural group. These group activities also provide the settings and protocols that adhere to an ethnic group s cultural learnings and beliefs. F i g u r e 3. 2 Local fitness centre 215

3 PDHPE in focus Ethnicity influences the type of exercise chosen and enables cultural groups to meet and share their traditions with their own community. These groups provide the opportunity to relive traditions from birth countries, which allow individuals to feel more comfortable exercising with others who wear similar dress, speak the same language and have common backgrounds. Some examples of these cultural groups include Irish dancing, line dancing or belly dancing. Figure 3.3 Belly dancing class Activity 2 advertising and promotion analyse advertisements for fitness and exercise services by investigating: who is the advertisement targeting? what does the advertisement offer? what are the benefits of the service? are the claims believable? As mentioned earlier, fitness is now a commodity that can be marketed successfully in our society. Each year, business and individuals outlay vast amounts of money to attend commercial fitness centres or to purchase fitness equipment and affiliated products, such as protein drinks, health or recovery bars. Commercial fitness centres equally outlay a lot of money in promoting exercise equipment to entice buyers to purchase equipment or memberships at their facilities. The money required to run a successful fitness centre must be recouped through client memberships; similarly the money needed to research and improve fitness equipment must come from the sale of equipment. With the number of exercise and fitness providers now available in the community, advertising and promotion strategies are very important for attracting potential clients, so potential clients have to be aware of particular fitness services available. An even greater concern is the purchase of fitness products and services over the internet. Certainly the internet is a powerful and useful tool to research the intended products or services for purchase, however, buyers should be mindful of the authenticity of the websites used for this purpose and the credibility of the vendors. how do you know who to believe? Spring is the time when many people contemplate getting fit and healthy, and losing weight for summer. Most often what occurs during this time is that people want a quick fix weight loss regime. Fitness providers will often make claims to quick fix methods of weight loss, fitness gain and general wellbeing. But how does a person know who and what to believe? The following checklist provides certain questions that can be checked off to distinguish between authentic information and misinformation: 216

4 fitness choices chapter 3 Is the program a government initiative? Are the organisation, its products and services reputable? What organisations endorse their products and services? Do the facilitators have appropriate qualifications and training? Are the products endorsed by the Australian fitness industry (Fitness Australia)? Are the prices comparable for the same types of memberships or equipment? Reputable organisations will be prepared to answer questions about their products, services and employer qualifications. promotional techniques, eg direct marketing, limited offer memberships Fitness centres will use many promotional and advertising techniques to attract consumers to become a member or purchase their equipment. These include: Direct marketing where mail-outs and pamphlets are delivered directly to the community within the local vicinity of a fitness centre. These may include introductory letters, brochures about the centre and what they offer, or an advertising gimmick of a free introductory session. The consumer is advised to be cautious of any hidden costs that may be involved once they join. Limited offer membership a common technique for centres to keep their current customers, encourage new customers, or try to entice past customers. This technique usually offers a price attached to a period of time, for example, join for $99 for 99 days, or join for three months and receive one week free. Telemarketing similar to direct marketing, however, contact is made over the telephone inviting consumers to take up offers and free trials. While the above techniques are the most common, the media is becoming a popular platform for advertising fitness services and products. Newspaper, magazine, radio, television and the internet are all becoming valuable sources for advertising. FEATURE box Fitness Industry Code of Practice Under the Code, fitness centres that are members of Fitness Australia must: provide prospective members with sufficient information to make informed decisions about joining not use false or misleading advertising or marketing practices offer a range of membership plans with options of pre-payment or periodic billing disclose the full price of all goods and services offered including various fees maintain a high level of cleanliness provide mechanically safe equipment and qualified staff to run fitness programs provide a clear procedure for resolving complaints. Source: Department of Fair Trading, Fitness Industry Code of Practice 217

5 PDHPE in focus accuracy of information In New South Wales, the Department of Fair Trading is the monitoring watchdog to ensure that advertising is truthful and not misleading. The fitness industry as a group have developed a voluntary Code of Practice that fitness providers can choose to abide by. Contact can be made with the Department of Fair Trading if a person feels that any information is misleading or inaccurate. ethics of advertising The word ethics has many different meanings for different settings, however, the basis is a sense of what is right and wrong. For example, advertising that aims to sell short-term weight loss programs or long-term memberships must be investigated carefully before a commitment is made, as this type of advertising tends to entice those who appear to be misled without informed consultation. Consumers should be looking to marry a fitness package with a program that promotes long-term benefits of regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Fitness Australia has established a Code of Ethics that includes professional integrity in advertising fitness services and products: Fitness professionals may advertise in connection with their professional practice if the advertising is not false, not misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive, is not vulgar or sensational, and does not claim or imply superiority of the fitness professional over any or all other fitness professionals. The advertisement for the fitness professional may contain a statement of the areas of expertise in practice. Activity 3 sample student answer (Source: Fitness Australia Code of Ethics) motivators and barriers to participation describe their own exercise preferences by considering: access to facilities convenience of use cost feelings about fitness and exercise exercise as a priority influence of other responsibilities, eg family, work While something that will trigger one person to put down a bag of chips and get into doing some form of physical activity, it might not have any effect on another. Just as individuals respond differently to varying circumstances in their lives, the same applies to realising the benefits of exercising. Starting a new, active, healthier lifestyle is something a person has to do for themselves it is making an investment in the future that will ensure that they will live to see their senior years and that those years are spent actively doing what they like. their motivation for exercising There are two motivators to exercise: the fear or mortality factor, and positive motivation to exercise. The most positive motivation to exercise is seeing the results of the effort put in. Positive motivators include: achieving set goals taking a picture of oneself and looking at it everyday writing down the reasons for exercising, thinking of its benefits finding a buddy to work with doing something that is enjoyable keeping a journal showing the positive results. 218

6 fitness choices chapter 3 The fear factor or mortality situation is evident in: statistics indicating the rising obesity levels and death rates related to inactivity poor health and disease relating to lack of activity and poor eating habits early grave concerns of suffering in the aged years from lack of activity and suffering in the aged years. the influences acting upon their choice of exercise for fitness Many influences that act upon the choice of exercise are dependent on the motivators for and the barriers against exercising. As discussed, different people have different reasons for wanting to exercise. It may be fear of becoming ill, to prevent an illness such as the onset of diabetes or cardiovascular diseases to develop a social training atmosphere, or simply to feel healthy and active. Barriers, as discussed later in this chapter, will also play a major role upon influencing an individual s exercise choices. their feelings about establishing a training partner When training, an individual will probably have days when they feel like just dropping their training routine altogether. By the time one finishes work, it s dark and raining outside, and on top of that, it s the leg-training day of the program not too encouraging, is it? A great way to stay motivated and to stick to a training schedule is to team up with a reliable training partner. This partner is usually someone who shares the same goals as the individual, as they tend to motivate each other. It is generally someone the individual trusts, works well with, respects and is supported by. Training with a partner will help the individual stick to a schedule, which will minimise the number of workouts missed. There s nothing better than a little commitment to help stick to an agenda. If a training session has been arranged with a partner, it is less likely that either will not turn up and let the other down. Good training partners will also help push each others limits. Like with everything else in life, a little competition helps people strive to do their best. Partner training provides all the benefits of one-on-one personal training while saving money. Not only does one get the benefits of having someone else to keep them motivated (in addition to a trainer) but benefits will also come from social interaction, healthy competitive challenges and increased well being associated with reaching goals together. barriers that they need to overcome Barriers to participating in physical activity are different for all individuals. They are associated most frequently with age, gender and income. Barriers relating to physical capabilities increase with age. However, cost of equipment or supplies, admission fees and transportation costs decrease with age, as many people become more independent and more financially stable. Men and women both agree that time and costs are barriers. However, women are more likely to be too busy with family, more likely to be not at ease socially, and more restricted by a lack of transportation. F i g u r e 3. 4 Making exercise enjoyable is a key positive motivator F i g u r e 3. 5 Partner training can take many forms 219

7 PDHPE in focus Adolescents are also affected by time constraints. While adults are restricted by family and work commitments, adolescents are restricted by too much involvement in other recreation activities and a commitment to friends. Adolescents are also likely to experience barriers to the activity itself, which include boredom, sweating a lot, too hard, and a general dislike for sport. General barriers a person has to overcome to participate in activity include: lack of motivation reasons to get up and participate access to facilities convenience of activity or equipment and usefulness of facilities cost having the money to participate negative feelings about physical activity exercise as a priority conflicts with lifestyle commitments family responsibilities time constraints and availability. The most important issues to consider when deciding to participate in physical activity are: The best type of physical activity is one where it is enjoyed because it is likely to be maintained and continued. Identify the personal barriers to exercise before starting. Incorporate physical activity into daily life routine, such as taking the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. Choosing physical activities that appeals to the individual exercise doesn t have to be dull. Though many people believe that regular physical activity and exercise benefit their health and wellbeing, there are those who would love to participate in regular exercise but experience barriers that limit or prevent them from participating. These barriers can influence the beginning of a program, the maintenance of a program or the resumption of a program after injury or illness. Figure 3.6 Barriers to participation Family responsibility Negative feelings about physical activity Cost Lack of motivation Barriers to participation Access to facilities Exercise as a priority Convenience of use 220

8 fitness choices chapter 3 Activities Activity 1 (Page 214) Using information from THREE activities you have participated in, complete the following questions: 1. Does this activity meet your exercise and fitness needs? Why or why not? 2. Would you continue to do this activity now or in the future? Why or why not? 3. Does this activity target a particular group within a community? Why? 4. What are some factors that may act as barriers from participating in this activity? Activity 2 (Page 216) Select TWO fitness services or products from various media sources and complete the following questions: What is the name of the product or service? 1. What techniques are being used to sell the service or product? 2. Who is the target group? 3. What does the advertisement offer? 4. Does it provide value for money to the consumer? 5. How or by whom is the service or product endorsed? 6. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the service or product 7. Would you purchase of use this service or product? Why or why not? Activity 3 (Page 218) Using the information provided in Figure 3.6, expand the brief explanation for each barrier, and list how the situations differ between an adult and a child. Discuss the ways in which these barriers can be overcome or adjusted to fit ones lifestyle. Review Questions 1. Compare the reasons why and why not people exercise. 2. Discuss how goal setting improve the chances of maintaining an exercise program. 3. Describe how the benefits of exercise can influence the choices people make when selecting exercise programs. 4. Outline the factors to be considered when deciding to use fitness services or buying fitness products. 5. Identify and describe FOUR common barriers to participation when it comes to regular exercise. option summary 221

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