Predictors of vigorous exercise adoption and maintenance over four years in a community sample

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Background: Very little is known about the correlates of adoption and maintenance of vigorous exercise. The purpose of this study was to understand the sociodemographic correlates of exercise adoption and maintenance in a community sample. Methods: 917 women and 229 men completed annual surveys as part of a community-based weight gain prevention trial over four years. Multivariate regressions evaluated predictive factors for maintenance of vigorous exercise over time in regular exercisers, and predictors of adoption of exercise in adults who were sedentary at baseline. Results: Exercise maintenance at Years 2 and 3 was associated with ethnicity and exercise level at baseline, while exercise maintenance at Year 4 was associated with television watching, BMI and exercise at baseline. Exercise level at baseline was associated with exercise initiation at Year 2 and Year 3. Income level, marital status, and smoking status predicted exercise initiation at Year 4. Conclusions: Predictors of vigorous exercise maintenance were more consistent than predictors of vigorous exercise initiation. Results suggest that those who adopt vigorous exercise are a heterogeneous group and intervention messages could be more broadly focused. These data also suggest that exercise maintenance interventions should continue to target low-income populations with messages regarding smoking, weight and television. Clearly further research is needed to understand the factors that contribute to exercise initiation and maintenance, and to develop effective interventions to improve levels of physical activity levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
StatePublished - Sep 1 2004

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