Studies show that 40% to 65% of those who initiate exercise at a fitness club, dropout from their training within the first months. This research project will therefore prospectively monitor factors associated with attendance and dropout in a group of novice exercisers, as well as to explain what is contributing to a physically active lifestyle.
Fitness clubs – A venue for public health?
To determine characteristics of those individuals who are able to stay active and continue regular physical activity, as well as to understand the processes of adherence and non-adherence associated with regular exercise.
A total of 250 participants (125 men and 125 women) from 25 SATS ELIXIA fitness clubs were recruited. The following measurements were conducted at start-up, and after three, six and 12 months:
- Body composition: Inbody
- Maksimal oxygen uptake: Balke-protocol until exhaustion on a tread mill
- Maksimal muscle strength: 1RM in leg press and bench press (smith-machine)
- Muscular endurance: xRM of 70% 1 RM in leg press and bench press (smith-machine)
- Questionnaire: Demographic factors, barriers and motives for physical activity, social support, body image, self-efficacy for exercise, use of the fitness club and member satisfaction
Only 37% exercised regularly irrespective of activity setting, and only 17% used the gym twice weekly the first year as a member. Those exercising regularly reported higher scores on the motive “enjoyment” and self-efficacy (“sticking to it”). Also, social support from family and friends was greater in those reporting regular exercise. Our results show that most new fitness club members use the gym intermittently and do not achieve a regular exercise habit. Hence, there is a need for research investigating possible effective interventions in a fitness club setting, contributing to that members find interest and time to incorporate exercise in their everyday lives, as such prevent abandonment of exercise.
So far this project has resulted in eight publications (open access), and several manuscripts are under revision or in writing progress.
These are the main findings: