A new study by researchers from The Miriam Hospital has identified various psychosocial factors that may propel people to start exercising, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Of which self efficacy or beliefs about one's ability to perform and succeed appeared to be the strongest predictor.
In the study involving more than 200 participants with 84 percent female the researchers identified 12 psychosocial variables that motivates people to start exercising.
"These findings were a little surprising since they were somewhat contradictory of other theoretical models of physical activity behaviours and interventions," said David Williams, PhD, of The Miriam Hospital's Centres for Behavioural and Preventive Medicine.
"A better understanding of these variables will help us design more effective interventions that encourage individuals to initiate, and stick with, a physical activity program," he added.
Further analyses revealed that access to home exercise equipment was more predictive of physical activity adoption, whereas self-efficacy and perceived satisfaction were more important in predicting exercise maintenance.
The study is published online by the Annals of Behavioural Medicine.