Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Renee Mabey




With the current emphasis on prevention and wellness in the area of public health, there is a need for insight regarding exercise behavior. Since college students are at the age when activity levels begin to decline,1 this may prove to be a crucial intervention point to promote positive exercise behaviors which may carry over into the adult years.

The purpose of this study is to examine personal and facility-related factors influencing exercise behavior among college students at the University of North Dakota. A randomized sample selected from the student population of the University of North Dakota (n = 900) was used. Students completed a questionnaire dealing with exercise behaviors. Response rate was 29%. Data were analyzed using traditional descriptive and analytical data techniques.

Non-parametric tests and ANOVA were used to analyze the data. Gender differences were the predominant factor affecting significance. Analysis reveals the following results. Women feel less safe then men when using facilities at night. Women are more likely to exercise to reduce stress than men. Women are more concerned about their body image and weight management. Women and off-campus students are more likely to take advantage of group exercise classes. Women feel less at ease using exercise equipment technology. Women are more likely to exercise at on-campus facilities because they have improved. Off campus students were more likely to regard facility parking as inconvenient. Students age 20 to 24 feel more strongly that the facility locations are inconvenient compared to students age 19 and younger. Time constraints seem to be more of a barrier for on-campus students. Students who exercise less than two times per week find the hours of operation inconvenient. Younger students are more likely to use exercise as a social outlet.

Information provided by this study may be useful in the administration and planning of new and existing wellness facilities. This study may help generate ideas for future studies regarding exercise behaviors among college students.