Factors involved in changing the health pattern of exercise: A phenomenological inquiry
The goal of this research was to begin to understand why some people are successful in changing exercise patterns and others are not. The problem to be investigated was: What factors are present when individuals are able to successfully change their health pattern of exercise? Due to the preliminary nature of this study, data was obtained via the qualitative method of phenomenology from subjects who had successfully changed their pattern of exercise.
Eight volunteer participants were interviewed by the researcher in their homes or places of employment. This convenience sample consisted of four males and four females who had changed from a pattern of no, or inconsistent exercise, to one of consistent exercise within the past six to twelve months. Consistent exercise was defined as aerobic exercise engaged in three or more times each week for a period of twenty minutes or more. The participants were all Caucasian. Their ages ranged from 27 to 62 years. Each interview was tape recorded and then transcribed. The transcripts were analyzed according to the method described by Paul Colaizzi. Separate analysis of the male and female transcripts was done.
The results of this analysis was a description of the fundamental structure of exercise pattern change. Conclusions from the data analysis included differences between the two groups which were: (a) the males emphasized the physical benefits of exercise, while the females stressed the psychological benefits, (b) the males mentioned goals and a feeling of no alternative but to continue to exercise for the rest of their life, while females stressed enjoyment of the exercise program, and a common finding which was (c) that group support was very important to the success of exercise pattern change.
The commitment to exercise made by these research participants was viewed as a life long commitment. It was made when one assumed self-responsibility for one's own health. This commitment was not merely a function of knowledge of the value of exercise, but an investment of the self in the process of health.