The purpose of the current study was to examine differences in motives for and in barriers to physical activity participation in Hong Kong middle-aged women. A group of 360 women aged 30-59 years were invited to complete a battery of questionnaires, including the Revised Motivation for Physical Activity Measure (Ryan, Frederick, Lepes, Rubio, & Sheldon, 1997), the Physical Activity for Risk Reduction (Guan & Zhu, 1999; Zhu et al., 2001), and the self-reported Stage of Change Measure (physical activity; Bowles, Morrow, Leonard, Hawkins, & Couzelis, 2002; Marcus, Selby, Niaura, & Rossi, 1992).
Results indicated that 80% of the women were classified into precontemplation, contemplation, or preparation stages of physical activity, indicating the majority were not physically active enough to achieve health benefits. Fitness-health, enjoyment-interest, and appearance were found to be the most important motives for; and lack of time, resources or skills, and family or friend support the most important barriers to activity participation. Women in the later stages of physical activity behavior were more likely to exhibit greater motive strengths and to perceive fewer barriers compared with those in the earlier stages. The findings of the current study extend the literature by providing insights into how women’s motives for and barriers to physical activity participation are related to their activity levels.