Motives for Exercise in Undergraduate Muslim Women and Men in Oman and Pakistan Compared to the United States

Cha Li*, Kashef Zayed, Amina Muazzam, Manyu Li, Jessica Cheng, Anne Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In this study we examined motives for exercise as well as the frequency and amount of time spent in exercising in female and male undergraduates in two Muslim countries [Oman, n = 104 and Pakistan, n = 134] as compared with those of U.S. undergraduates [n = 560]. As predicted, overall levels of exercise activity were found to be lower in undergraduates from Pakistan and Oman than in the U.S. sample, and higher in men than women across all three countries. Muslim women were least likely to exercise with the modal groups for both countries not exercising at all. Gender and country differences were more evident in reports of frequency and duration of exercise than in thinking about exercise. Thoughts about exercise predicted frequency and duration of exercise in all gender by country groups. Improving health was especially important as a reason for exercise for the Omani students, as predicted, although this motive was even higher in the Omani women than men. Pakistani women and men were motivated by wanting to relax (as predicted) and improve their appearance, an unexpected finding. For Spending Time with Others, Oman was highest, followed by Pakistan, and with the U.S. lowest, a result not predicted, although the more communal Muslim cultures may help explain this finding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-84
Number of pages17
JournalSex Roles
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 17 2015


  • Exercise frequency
  • Exercise motives
  • Muslims
  • Oman
  • Pakistan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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