Factors Related to Physical Activity Adherence in Women: Review and Suggestions for Future Research

Document Type


Publication Date





Approximately 50 percent of individuals who start an exercise program withdraw within 6 months. Thus, many individuals withdraw before health benefits have been realized. This is a disconcerting statistic considering the well known benefits of physical activity for decreasing risk of hypokinetic diseases and improving quality of life. The literature has suggested a plethora of factors to increase the number of individuals who initiate a physical activity program. However, little is known about the factors that keep women exercising–otherwise known as exercise adherence. The purpose of this paper is to: (a) systematically review the quantitative literature to discern the major factors contributing to adherence to physical activity in women and men and make recommendations for specific gender-based considerations that are important when designing PA interventions for women, and (b) suggest areas of future research related to increasing adherence to physical activity in women. Key factors reviewed in this paper may be useful in developing efficacious physical activity programs for women.