MM Paul


M. M. Paul
College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN

Weight bearing activity is an important component of overall health. According to the CDC (2007), only one third of women aged 18-24 obtain sufficient levels of physical activity, making them a particular concern. Many women may lack knowledge of proper weightlifting techniques, have incorrect information about weightlifting or have time constraints that prevent them from participating. PURPOSE: To determine if and why college aged women participate in or withhold from weight training methods. METHODS: 249 college-aged women were surveyed and 12 of those women participated in small focus groups. RESULTS: 57.8% of women were in the “normal” BMI category. Survey participants indicated that they were mostly “healthy” or “very healthy” (82.4%). Despite being an active sample, (88% indicated that they were either “active” or “very active”), less than half of respondents indicated that they participated in weightlifting either “often” or “very often”. Additionally, 27.7% of women agreed, strongly agreed or were neutral when answering the statement, weightlifting is unnecessary when I am being physically active. Women reported the top three factors that motivated them to participate in weightlifting were to stay in shape, it made them feel good and it improved how they looked/the way they felt about their body. For women who faced obstacles when trying to include weightlifting into their workouts, time constraints seemed to be the largest barrier. It is possible that women place a great deal of emphasis on aerobic exercise and thus, lack time to add weightlifting to their exercise routine. CONCLUSION: Though the reported activity levels in this sample were encouraging, an effort should still be made to address misconceptions and a lack of education surrounding weightlifting, especially in college aged women. More health and fitness education may help college students shift their attitudes and feel more empowered about adding weightlifting to their exercise routines. Campus-wide campaigns with high visibility tactics that deliver more than one component, such as educating and programming, have the potential for causing positive behavior change. Efforts such as these could be useful strategies in increasing the levels of participation of women in weightlifting on college campuses.

NACSM Professional Sponsor: Dr. Mary Stenson

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