Researchers have studied exercise determinants primarily from cognitive and social psychology perspectives, which typically give minimal attention to the body as a physical and biological entity. With the belief that tapping into multidimensional variables would potentially help us better understand motivation in exercise, we designed this study to examine the influences of self-efficacy, body mass, and cardiorespiratory fitness level on Chinese college students’ leisure-time exercise motives.
208 college students completed measures of self-efficacy and exercise motives during regular physical education classes. Their body mass and cardiorespiratory fitness level data were derived from the latest annual physical training test. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to investigate the effects of self-efficacy, body mass, and cardiorespiratory fitness on exercise motives.
Cardiorespiratory fitness level and self-efficacy in exercise significantly contributed to both psychological and interpersonal motives. Body mass was the only significant predictor for body-related motives. However, analyses of health and fitness motives did not result in any significant predictors.
Physical and psychological variables have both independent and specialized functions on exercise motives. Future motivational studies in exercise should pay greater attention to ecological approaches that account for physical, psychological, and social factors.