Participation in physical activity: An empirical study of undergraduate university students’ perceptions

  • VT Nolan
  • J Surujlal
Keywords: Physical activity, perceptions, undergraduate students, coping, well-being, self-esteem


Physical activity declines when students leave high school and enter tertiary education. This poses a serious problem, because students are the future leaders and policy makers in our society and their habits, beliefs and attitudes towards physical activity can influence the general population. The primary purpose of this study was to explore the perception of undergraduate university students' participation in physical activity. The secondary purpose was to compare the perceptions of female and male undergraduate students based on physical activity factors. A quantitative research approach was adopted. A two-part validated questionnaire was administered to undergraduate students. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the demographic and health profiles of undergraduate students and an independent t-test was used to determine differences in the perceptions of female and male students. The findings indicated that undergraduate students are aware that participation in physical activity contributes to the promotion of self-esteem, positive affect on the mental well-being and improved health. They also perceive participation in physical activity as an important component of their everyday life. It is therefore important that they devote sufficient attention to this aspect of their lives and realise the importance of health and what contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939