• Why Students Exercise Regularly: a Focus Group on the Characteristics Shared by Arizona Health Sciences Students at The University of Arizona

      Slack, Marion; Palmateer, Kyle; Vande Zande, M. Alejandra; Wingersky, Sam; College of Pharmacy, The University of Arizona (The University of Arizona., 2007)
      Objectives: To identify the characteristics shared by Arizona Health Sciences students who exercise regularly and the effects of exercise on their lives. Methods: This was a descriptive, cross-sectional study. Three focus groups were held to collect data on the participants’ history and pattern of regular exercise, reasons for engaging in physical activity, educational background on the importance of physical activity, views on role models, and level of productivity. Demographic data were collected on age, gender, marital status, weight, and height. Results: The AHS students who participated in the focus groups had a history of regular exercise, often since childhood, an ability to adapt their schedules to make time for exercise, and the use of exercise as a recreational or social activity. Stress reduction and health benefits were major motivators for participating in regular physical activity. However, only about 50 percent of the participants saw themselves as potential role models for their patients. Conclusions: The training of pharmacy and public health students may need to be revisited to include the promotion of physical activity and the importance of serving as role models. Focusing on how regular physical activity reduces stress and improves health may be more successful marketing techniques, as all of the participants listed these benefits as important. Because the other reasons varied between men and women, the marketing strategies may need to focus on different approaches for each gender; for example, the appearance benefits for men and the sleep and socializing benefits for women.