Limestone Professor Dr. Felicia Cavallini, 2 Students To Make Presentations In Las Vegas

Charles Wyatt
Limestone Professor Dr. Felicia Cavallini, 2 Students To Make Presentations In Las Vegas

Limestone College Professor Dr. Felicia Cavallini, along with Exercise Science students Taylor Gomes and Lexi Noti, will be making two presentations during the American Association of Behavioral and Social Science Conference in Las Vegas February 23-25.

One presentation is titled “Connecting with the Forces that Compel You to Move! A Southern Ontario and South Carolina Focus Group Study Examining the Top Motivators to Engaging in Physical Activity”

Most Americans and Canadians recognize the health benefits of regular physical activity, but still do not meet the recommended physical activity guidelines. Why do so many people not partake in daily physical activity and what can we do to motivate people to be more physically active? Cavallini has been conducting research to answer those questions.

“We completed a study to explore adults' top motivators to physical activity,” Cavallini explained. “Based on feedback from facilitated group discussions, a survey was designed and administered to 323 participants in Southern Ontario, and to 305 participants in South Carolina. Participants ranked their top motivators from a list provided. Adults from both regions indicated the same top 3 motivators: better health, feeling good and happier afterwards, and losing or maintaining weight. The results indicate that affective benefits of physical activity may be an important motivator.

“Recommendations, suggestions, and interventions strategies to improving physical activity levels through affective motivators will be addressed and discussed,” he continued. “The emphasis in this presentation is contributing the ‘theory into practice’ intervention strategies on how we can connect with the public in providing them more meaningful ways to become physically active through affective motivators such as ‘feeling good and happier afterwards.’”

Cavallini, Gomes, and Noti will also be presenting “Cultural Differences in Southern Ontarian and South Carolinian Attitudes, Beliefs, Opinions and Outlook Towards Physical Activity and Exercise: What Can Educating the Public Do to Help Minimize Some of These Barriers to a Physically Active Lifestyle?” at the upcoming conference in Las Vegas.

“We completed a survey-based study in Southern Ontario and South Carolina to explore preferences and barriers towards lifestyle physical activity versus more traditional exercise,” Cavallini noted. “Adults from both regions preferred lifestyle-oriented physical activity as more natural and enjoyable and found it easier to incorporate into their day. Barriers to physical activity most commonly identified from both regions were related to real or perceived lack of time. However, there were also regional differences. South Carolinians, but not Ontarians, felt that exercise was boring and painful (62% males, 81% females), but better for them (63%, males and females). Participants from South Carolina also preferred to be active with a companion (63%, males and females). Inclement weather was a barrier only for those in Ontario, particularly for females (60%).

“This presentation will address these findings and provide practical recommendations,” he added. “The emphasis in this presentation will again be contributing the ‘theory into practice’ intervention strategies on how we can educate the public on the research backed health benefits of lifestyle physical activity similar to exercise. In addition, the advantages of engaging in group physical activity and staying active during extreme weather conditions will be addressed.”

Cavallini was awarded the prestigious, internationally distinguished Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant for 2014-2015 as a Visiting Research Chair in the Human Health and Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Guelph. Cavallini taught and conducted research in collaboration with the faculty and serves as an ambassador to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and Canada.

Accompanynig photo: Limestone Exercise Science students Taylor Gomes (left) and Lexi Noti.