Increasing physical activity in insufficiently active individuals through goal setting and pedometer assessment
Lack of physical activity in America is a major issue contributing to an increase in the prevalence of overweight and obese individuals. Goal setting and pedometers can be used to increase physical activity in inactive individuals. The primary purpose of the study was to investigate if inactive individuals can increase their physical activity by 2,000steps/day for 12 weeks with the use of pedometers and goal setting and examine if these motivational tools can help inactive individuals adhere to a long term increase in physical activity. Secondary purposes were to assess any changes in body composition, and blood pressure upon completion of the physical activity intervention and at follow-up and to investigate changes in self efficacy scores throughout the study.Pedometer measured physical activity (steps) was assessed at baseline, weekly during the 12 week physical activity intervention, and at the 24 week follow up. For the 12 week intervention, participants were asked to increase their physical activity by 2,000 steps/day from their baseline physical activity assessment. At each time frame, body composition,blood pressure and self —efficacy measurements were obtained.Thirty eight subjects (10 men, 28 women) started the study with 19 subjects (5 men, 14 women) completing the 12 week physical activity intervention. Fifty percent of participants completed (i.e., were compliant) the present study. However, only 6 individuals were capable of attaining their step goal for 75% of the 12 week (i.e., 9 of 12 weeks) physical activity intervention. Mean steps/day significantly increased from baseline to 12 weeks in individuals participating in the study. Following the physical activity intervention to the 24 week follow-up, mean steps/day significantly decreased. Significant improvements were found in weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, and waist circumference from baseline to 12 weeks. A significant decrease was found from baseline to 24 weeks in the resisting relapse questions (i.e., questions 1-5) on the exercise self efficacy questionnaire.In conclusion, these results demonstrated that the majority of individuals in the present study were not capable of increasing their physical activity by 2,000 steps/day through the use of goal setting with a pedometer. Individuals who do increase their physical activity experience improvements in body composition measurements. Therefore, more motivational tools should be investigated to increase physical activity.