Zhou, Xin, and Archana Krishnan*
Habitual exercising is an important precursor to both physical and psychological well-being. There is, thus, a strong interest in identifying key factors that can best motivate individuals to sustain regular exercise regimen. In addition to the importance of psychographic factors, social media use may act as external motivator by allowing users to interact and communicate about exercise. In this study, we examined the influence of health consciousness, health-oriented beliefs, intrinsic motivation, as willingness to communicate about health on social media, social media activity on exercise, and online social support on exercise maintenance and well-being on a sample of 532 American adults. Employing structural equation modeling, we found that health-oriented beliefs mediated the effect of health consciousness on intrinsic motivation which in turn was a significant predictor of exercise maintenance. Exercise maintenance significantly predicted both physical and psychological well-being. Extrinsic motivators, as measured by willingness to communicate about health on social media, social media activity on exercise, and online social support did not however significantly influence exercise maintenance. These findings have implications for the design and implementation of exercise-promoting interventions by identifying underlying factors that influence exercise maintenance.
* Denotes CSDA Associates, Affiliates, and Staff