Physical Activity Behavior Change: Issues in Adoption and Maintenance

Health Psychol. 2000 Jan;19(1S):32-41. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.19.suppl1.32.


The many benefits of participation in regular moderate- or vigorous-intensity physical activity are well established, yet more than 60% of the population is sedentary or insufficiently active. Published studies have revealed that behavior modification and cognitive-behavior modification can be successfully used to assist patients, healthy adults, and youth in the adoption of physically active lifestyles. However, few studies with adults and youth have examined the maintenance of physical activity behavior beyond 6 months of adoption of this behavior. Maintenance of physical activity is critically important because ongoing participation in the behavior is necessary to sustain health benefits. Knowledge of effective intervention strategies for long-term maintenance of physical activity is at an early stage. The authors provide a summary of what is known about the maintenance of physical activity behavior in adults and youth and how physical activity behavior relates to other health behaviors such as smoking, as well as recommendations for research on physical activity behavior change and maintenance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Child
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care