Perceived Benefits of and Barriers to Exercise Participation among Secondary School Students

N.A. Kubayi, J. Surujlal


The benefits of participating in physical exercise are numerous and well documented in the literature. Research evidence suggests that adolescents are becoming more obese and more sedentary because of their lack of participation in physical exercise. The purpose of this study was to identify and rank perceived benefits and barriers associated with participation in physical exercise among secondary school students. It also sought to investigate whether any differences exist between males and females regarding physical activity participation. Data were collected from 251 (120 males and 131 females) students attending three public secondary schools in the Hlanganani rural area of Limpopo province, South Africa. Frequencies were used to report on the demographic data and means were used to rank the benefits and barriers associated with participation in physical exercise. The results of the study indicated that the most likely reasons to exercise were to feel less anxious, less depressed, less stressed and to lose weight. On the other hand, lack of time due to children, hair maintenance issues, self-consciousness about body or physical appearance, use of drugs and/or alcohol and the lack of proper equipment or access to exercise facilities were identified as major barriers to physical exercise. The results of this study have practical implications for promoting physical activity in rural schools. However, it is recommended that the Department of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Sport and Recreation, should provide schools with sport facilities and equipment for the successful implementation of physical exercise programmes.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p121

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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