The perceived importance of physical activity: Associations with psychosocial and health-related outcomes

Thomas R. Wójcicki, Amanda N. Szabo, Siobhan M. White, Emily L. Mailey, Arthur F. Kramer, Edward McAuley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which participation in a 12-month exercise program changed the degree of importance that older adults attached to physical activity. In addition, associations among changes in physical activity importance and health-related and psychosocial outcomes were examined. Methods: Community-dwelling older adults (N = 179) were recruited to participate in a 12-month exercise trial examining the association between changes in physical activity and fitness with changes in brain structure and psychological health. Participants were randomly assigned to a walking condition or a flexibility, toning, and balance condition. Physical, psychological, and cognitive assessments were taken at months 0, 6, and 12. Results: Involvement in a 12-month exercise program increased the importance that participants placed on physical activity; this positive change was similar across exercise condition and sex. Changes in importance, however, were only associated with changes in physical health status and outcome expectations for exercise midway through the intervention. There were no significant associations at the end of the program. Conclusions: Regular participation in physical activity can positively influence the perceived importance of the behavior itself. Yet, the implications of such changes on physical activity-related outcomes remain equivocal and warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-349
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Exercise trial
  • Health status
  • Older adults
  • Value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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