Let’s Get Moving
Promoting increased physical exercise.
Physical activity is a necessary component to health. In the 21st century, public health’s most important health issue is how to engage low-active people in physical exercise (Early & Corcoran, 2013). There are benefits of competitive team-based events and leisure relationship-based events (Early & Corcoran, 2013). Benefit differences for events depends upon the experience of the participant.
Early and Corcoran (2013) report the participant experiences from the Cambridge, UK Run team-relay charity event and the Walk leisure Cambridge colleges’ garden tour with family and friends in 2008. There were seven participants from each event, equally divided by gender, with ages between 24 and 64 years old, who were identified via pre-event survey as being low-active (Early & Corcoran, 2013). Low active was defined for this study to be physical activity for 30 minutes performed two or fewer times a week (Early & Corcoran, 2013). Participants interviewed face-to-face from each event and provided follow-up six months after the event; all reported positive experiences, but with differing results (Early & Corcoran, 2013).
Run participants reported feeling emotionally positive, intensely self-motivated, encouraged by the team and the crowd, and provided with social pleasure from strengthened relationships (Early & Corcoran, 2013). The experience included challenging physical effort, a high level of individual psychological achievement, and both an individual and a team physical achievement (Early & Corcoran, 2013). The outdoor environment was a backdrop for the adrenaline-filled, driving, competitive, fast journey of the participants’ maximal physical capability offered to complete the event (Early & Corcoran, 2013).
Walk participants reported feeling no competition, mild physical discomfort from walking 4.5 miles, confidence of completion prior to starting the event, a fun or playful experience, prolonged by enjoyment of relationships with those sharing the experience, as well as the beautiful environment (Early & Corcoran, 2013). The experience included less intense physical effort, maintained relationships without enrichment, and self-confidence reinforcement without enhancement (Early & Corcoran, 2013). The outdoor environment provided for an enjoyable day outside with the beautiful gardens fostering good self-esteem and mood (Early & Corcoran, 2013).
Event participants’ experiences supported a sense of enjoyment and community, as well as belonging with other participants (Early & Corcoran, 2013). The resolve of the Walk participants to complete the event was high, but better valued as an accomplishment by the Run participants due to the determination of effort necessary to compete (Early & Corcoran, 2013). Both events fostered social interaction and relationships with the heightened depth from camaraderie by the Run participants (Early & Corcoran, 2013). The event-generated relationships offered participants potential support networks for continued health improvement (Early & Corcoran, 2013).
Physical activity is promotable for low-active people through mass participation physical events. Benefits vary depending on the approach of the event, i.e. competitive or leisure, based on the experience of participants. Event planning and advertising, with consideration of participant experiences, encourages positive involvement as well as support networks for continued physical activity promotion after events.
Early, F., & Corcoran, P. (2013). How can mass participation physical activity events engage low-active people? A qualitative study. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 10(8), 900-909. Retrieved from http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.p.atsu.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=2&sid=8d0a662a-34dc-45da-8842-e8f641130774%40sessionmgr4004&hid=4205
From Health Promotion Centre (2014). Mass participation physical activity. Retrieved from http://www.pinterest.com/hpcbrunei/health-promotion-centre/