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Barriers to Motivation

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Barriers and Motivation

It is important to identify reliable predictors of exercise adherence, this allows healthcare providers to effectively intervene and change patterns of physical activity in people. Sedentary lifestyles are linked to osteoporosis, obesity, depression, coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and colon cancer. Activity is the most important health behaviour in preventing the onset of, and decreasing the severity of many chronic diseases.

Barriers to Exercise

  • Exercise is not viewed as a ‘medicine’
  • Clients see all chronic health issues as barriers
  • Too time-consuming (including travel)
  • See symptoms of exercise as negative – sweating, laboured breathing, muscle soreness, fatigue
  • Pain or the perception of pain
  • Injury worries
  • No suitable exercise facility
  • No suitable ‘classes’ available
  • No knowledge of benefits
  • Exercise not valued or deemed necessary
  • Not seen as important for health
  • May have bad memories of exercise from childhood
  • Exercise needs to be long-term for true benefits to be realised.

Those who have the most to gain are usually the least likely to participate.

Role of General Practitioner

GP’s have barriers also:

  • Lack of time during the office visit
  • Limited reimbursement for preventative counselling
  • Lack of training and perceived effectiveness as a behavioural counsellor.


  • A clear desired goal
  • Support from friends, family and trainers
  • Barriers can often serve as motivators
  • Deteriorating health/onset of a new condition
  • More free time
  • Doctor’s recommendation/insistence
  • More access to information re the health benefits of exercise
  • Living closer to appropriate recreational areas and facilities
  • Moving to a climate more conducive to activity
  • Self-efficacy.
Let’s Discuss
Can you think of a barrier and a motivator for yourself regarding exercise? Share in the comments below.

© CQUniversity 2021
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