To Do or Not to Do...That is the Question

Oelklaus, Erin
Health care professionals constantly emphasize the importance of exercise to an individual's mental and physical well-being. Despite these constant reminders, many individuals face motivational challenges when attempting to begin and maintain an exercise program. There are numerous theories that strive to explain this phenomenon, and health care professionals can be better prepared to help their clients by understanding and utilizing the most appropriate motivational theory for the situation. The purpose of this study was to assess how the Theory of Planned Behavior, Self-determination Theory, and Self-efficacy Theory can be used to understand the exercise behavior of a personal training client. The individual answered specific questions pertaining to his motivational and exercise history, as well as his reasons for starting an exercise regime. A qualitative analysis was then conducted to compare and contrast how the different theories explained the person's exercise behavior. Results indicate that each theory possessed both weakness and strengths in describing the client's exercise behavior, and that the most apropos fit is a combination of all three theories. Therefore, due to the variable nature of human care, theoretical and practical knowledge of varying theories best prepares health professionals to motivate their clients.
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University of Wyoming Libraries