Perceived benefits and barriers to physical exercise participation of first year university students

  • VT Nolan
  • M Sandada
  • J Surujlal
Keywords: Benefits, barriers, physical exercise, university students, health, participation


Regular participation in exercise is associated with disease prevention and provides many benefits. Physical exercise plays a key role in the promotion of good health. However, very few young people participate in physical exercise. The purpose of this study was to identify the perceived benefits and barriers to participation in physical exercise among first year students in a South African university. A quantitative approach was used. Academics at three different campuses at Vaal University of Technology (South Africa) administered an adapted version of the Exercise Benefits Barriers Scale (EBBS) to first year entering university students. Descriptive, one-way repeated measure ANOVA and independent t-tests were applied to determine the perceived benefits and barriers associated with participation in physical exercise. The study identified lack of facilities and tiredness as the constraining factors. Improved health, physical performance, psychological outlook and life enhancement were perceived as the strongest benefits. First year students perceive participating in exercising to have more benefits than adverse effects. As a result, students will be more motivated to overcome the barriers they face and hinder them in their participation in physical exercise in order to make physical exercise part of their daily lives.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939