Faculty Mentors

Dr. Emily Simonavice


Purpose: Learning what motivates people to exercise may be the key to health professionals helping their clients become more active and moving our society in a positive direction in terms of health. Motivation can be divided into two broad categories; intrinsic and extrinsic. Our study sought to examine which type of motivation positively affects college-aged students’ one-mile times. It was hypothesized that college-aged individuals would run one mile in a shorter amount of time if they were motivated extrinsically than if they were motivated intrinsically.

Methods: Eighteen college-aged individuals participated in the study and were randomly split into two groups: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. On day one all participants performed a baseline, one-mile run timed trial with no motivation administered. On day two subjects were asked to repeat the one-mile time trial; however, this trial included a motivation condition (extrinsic or intrinsic) based on which of the two groups the participants were randomly assigned.

Results: An independent t-test revealed no significant differences in final one- mile run time between the extrinsic group (7.5 ± 1.4 min) and the intrinsic group (7.7 ± 1.5 min). Survey results revealed that trophies, recognition, self- satisfaction, and health ranked the lowest of motivating factors while money and fitness ranked the highest.

Conclusion: Although there was no statistical significance supporting one type of motivation over the other; the survey results suggests that college students are not intrinsically motivated to exercise, and only certain extrinsic rewards such as fitness and money were reported to be “motivating” to exercise.



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