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Qualitative Study of Reasons for (Non) Participation in Physical Recreation

Griffith University
Gold Coast Campus

Introduction

The objective of this qualitative study is to investigate and compare the responses of both single men and women who do not participate in physical recreation.
The first part of this report will primarily focus on a brief review of research material gathered in relation to the objective of this study.
Secondly this report will give a short description of the research method used to gather the data for the quantitative research and thirdly it will discuss and describe the major reason for the non-participation in physical recreation of single men and women. There will also be a focus on the on the issue and the comparison between the genders with the hope to find the reasoning between the two genders, as well as to determine if possible that one gender exercises more than the other and thirdly the report will discuss and describe the major reason for the non-participation in physical recreation of single men and women.
This research will also centre on three (3) primary questions in order to determine the difference between single men and women and how physical and recreational activities impact or do not impact on their everyday work and lifestyles.
The questions will also be used within the interview process between the two genders, to again determine the findings and come to a conclusion.
Findings will come from:
Is motivation or lack of, a contributing factor as to why single men and women are not participating in physical and recreational activities? What are the other barriers relating to men and women do not participate?
Is there a clear comparison between the two genders when it comes to physical activity and participation?

With the rise of obesity and other related health issues relating to lack of physical activities by men and women in today’s society, there has also been the increase in the study and research on the subject, especially over the last ten years in order to determine a link as to why the physical and recreation between genders has decreased and to also determine if there is a common ground reason so as to come to a conclusion.
Many researchers in the field of leisure studies have recognised not only the significance of gender as a variable affecting leisure behaviour, but also the androcentric nature of early leisure theories, and the resultant need to develop new theoretical approaches which accommodate both women's and men's experiences of leisure. (Susan M. Shaw 1994)
The Australian Bureau 2010 stated that the overall participation in sport and physical activities is an important feature of the whole Australian lifestyle. It also stated that between 1999-2000 and 2005-06, there was an increase in recreational activities from 55% to 65%.
Through statistic based research by the bureau, it was surprising to note that participation rates for both men and women in sport in 2005-06 were the same. Men were also more likely to participate in sport on average twice a week, while women were more likely to participate more than twice a week. Both men and women stated that walking for exercise, participating in aerobics or fitness and swimming were the most common sports. To separate the two genders in their individual sporting activities, tennis, cycling or netball were the most common for women, whereas men participated more in golf, cycling, running and outdoor cricket.
When it came to motivational reasons contributing to sport participation in 2005-06, both men and women stated that the reasons were for health and fitness and enjoyment. 8% of men also stated that the third motivator was social and family, while 9% women participated also for wellbeing.
Of the 6.4 million Australians 2005-06 who did not participate or had occasional and infrequent participation on recreational and physical activities, stated that the reasons for not participating were insufficient time due to work, study, age or they were not interested.

Literature Review

When it comes to physical and recreational activity carried out by both single men and women there is some concern between researchers in regards to the relationship between sport, physical activity and gender with the notion of sport being traditionally a male domain.
Sport and physical activity has played a major role in determining what it means to be male and female in Australian society, with it being traditionally perceived that sport has been viewed as primarily a male preserve with women as supporters.
Over the years, much of the research and literature concerning health benefits of physical activity is based on studies done primarily with men.
A gender impact assessment carried out by Victoria Women’s Health and complied by Bec Yeats (2010) found that the National physical activity guidelines for Australians are the same for women and men that is encouraged adults to think of movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience
Women are not motivated to spend their only free time exercising a lot would much prefer to relax and forget about work. Work and study along with other issues like family responsibilities are the main reasons that some married and single women are not involved in physical activity. (Erickson & Gillespie 2000)
Single women have issues finding time to participate in physical activity. This was primarily due the fact that even though these women did not have children but they found work and or study issues limited their time for exercise. (Vehoef, Love & Rose 2003) This small participation rate of married and single women is a concern for society with health issues such as obesity and depression increasing.

Research Methods

The research methods used in this study were carried out via interviews. The interviews were conducted with seven (7) single men and seven (7) single women and were not age specific.
The open, axial and reflective (selective) coding method was used to analyse the data. Open coding is the first step in the coding method used to analyse the in depth interview data. Open coding helps to make sense of the process and identify the root of the issue. Some of the issues for single women in the open coding stage were things such as: * Work – working long hours * No motivation – finding it hard to feel motivated to exercise * Low energy levels – feeling exhausted * No time – having no spare time to partake in regular physical recreation
Some of the issues for single men were: * No time * Lack of funds – not having the money to be able to pay for and travel to physical activities of their interest * No friends to exercise with – not having a partner or group to exercise with * Low energy levels – feeling exhausted * Other social activities – wanting to spend time socialising with friends
Axial coding is the second step in the coding method. For the axial coding stage the data was analysed to find more of a view of the issues for non-participation in physical activity of single women and men. Axial coding minimalises the number of statements made by the interviewees and identifies the more common themes. Common themes for single women in the axial coding stage were: * Transport and financial reasons * No time due to work and parental commitments * No motivation due to lack of friends to exercise with and poor knowledge * Other interests such as socialising and relaxing
At this stage of the coding process some common themes are visible for single men and women. The majority of single women and men stated that time commitments were issues for not exercising, also followed by motivation and having ‘better’ things to do.
Reflective coding aims to seek any inter-relationship that may exist in the major themes. (Kwek 2011) The main themes in this research for single men and women are: * Barriers * Prioritisation * Motivation
Most of the single men and women in this study believe they do not have enough time to regularly partake in physical activity. A lack of motivation is also a common theme amongst both single females and males. A lack of sufficient funding and the gym being highly expensive to engage in physical recreation is also quite a big factor in their non-participation.

Discussion of Findings

The reason for this study is to find out why the men and women whom were interviewed are not exercising on a regular basis. The main issue that this qualitative research has found is time.
There are some similar themes for both single women and men in relation to time constraints. One reason for lack of time that is evident in both groups is work or study commitments. For example, one female interviewee stated, “I work five days a week and I have three children to look after so there isn’t usually much time left over for myself” (Kylie). A male participant stated that he has a 9 to 5 job, and by the time he finishes work there is not enough time, and he is physically exhausted (Will). It is clear here that both single women and men that if they had more time would be more inclined to participate in physical activity. Another common reason for non-participation is lack of motivation. The majority of single men and women in this study feel no motivation to exercise, and would rather ‘relax’ in their spare time. One similar reason for single women and men to hove low motivation is the lack of company to perform the physical activity with. Kylie states that she would be “more inclined to do something like that if I had someone to go with”. Kris, a male participant also states that he would rather exercise with friends to motivate him. Working less and having a friend or friends to exercise with are big factors in motivating both single men and women to engage in physical activity.
Single men and women, especially women in this qualitative study are shown to have issues with money in relation to the funding of physical activities. A Large portion of the single women that were interviewed for this study claim that they do not have enough money or cannot justify spending a large amount of money on physical activity. “Joining a gym is so expensive these days and sometime I can’t justify paying that much”. (Kylie)
Although some of the time constraint and motivational reasons for non-participation are similar between single men and women, it is important to understand that the major issues discussed can be related as well as compound one another.

Conclusion

In summary the research suggests that the major reasons for single women and men involved in this study are time and motivation. The vast majority of all the women and men interviewed found that motivation and time constraints were the biggest issues stopping them from being involved in physical activity on a regular basis. A number of interviewees said that if they had more spare time they would be involved in exercise or physical activity of some description. Another stand out problem for single women was family commitments, as both stated that they were single mothers, and this was exhausting so in there spare time they wanted to do nothing else but relax. For single women, the lack of financing or the concern that the gym was too expensive was one main reason for not participating in physical activity. Not having enough money deprives the respondent of motivation to regularly exercise. Although the major issues are very similar for both single men and women it is the finer details that make them different.
For more women and men to begin and continue to engage in regular physical activity there needs to be some change in society. This research shows that they both need more time and motivation for this to happen. It is important that more research is done in this field to further understand these major issues and work towards an increase in exercise for both men and women.

References

Veal, J 2006, Research Methods for Leisure and Tourism, Pearson Education Limited, England

Erickson, J. & Gillespie, C 2000, Reasons women discontinued participation in an exercise and wellness program. The physical educator, 57 (1), 2-7. Retrieved from Google Scholar

Kwek, A 2011, 1002HSL Week 4 Lecture: Qualitative research methods. Griffith University, Department of Tourism, Leisure, Hotel & Sport Management, Learning@Griffith Website.

Nomaguchi, K. & Bianchi, S 2004, Exercise time: Gender differences in the effects of marriage, parenthood, and employment. Journal of marriage and family, 66, 413-430. Retrieved from ABI/Inform Global.

Verhoef, M., Love, E. & Rose, S 2003, Women’s social rules and their exercise participation. Women & Health, 19 (4), 15-29. Retrieved from ABI/Inform Global.

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