2.1 An Introduction to the Benefits of Physical Activity
Regular participation in exercise may improve an individual’s physiological, cognitive, and psychological health. Many decades of research illustrate the positive effect physical activity has on the body and mind. When practiced across the lifespan, physical activity may result in greater overall health, and a reduced risk for many chronic diseases.
Despite the aforementioned benefits, many Americans do not currently meet national recommendations for physical activity participation. College students in particular may face unique challenges to participating in regular physical activity, often due to perceived and environmental barriers. However, many college students report a deep desire to maintain physical fitness and wellness in the midst of hectic academic schedules.
Chapter 2 will present an overview of the numerous benefits incurred from physical activity participation, after which the underlying factors influencing participation in exercise (or lack thereof) in college-aged populations will be reviewed. Finally, several behavioral strategies which may aid an individual’s initiation and maintenance of a physical activity regimen will be explored.