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Arthritis Rheum. 2006 Aug 15;55(4):616-27.

Perceived exercise barriers, enablers, and benefits among exercising and nonexercising adults with arthritis: results from a qualitative study.

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University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.



Rates of participation in regular exercise are lower among individuals with arthritis than those without arthritis. This study examined perceived exercise barriers, benefits, and enablers in exercising and nonexercising adults with arthritis.


Twelve focus groups were conducted with 68 adults with arthritis. Groups were segmented by exercise status, socioeconomic status, and race. Focus group discussions were transcribed verbatim and coded. NVivo software was used to extract themes for exercisers and nonexercisers.


A wide range of physical, psychological, social, and environmental factors were perceived to influence exercise. Some of these factors were similar to those in general adult samples, whereas others were unique to individuals with chronic disease. Symptoms of arthritis were barriers to exercise, yet improvements in these outcomes were also seen as potential benefits of and motivations for exercise. Exercisers had experienced these benefits and were more likely to have adapted their exercise to accommodate the disease, whereas nonexercisers desired these benefits and were more likely to have stopped exercising since developing arthritis. Health care providers' advice to exercise and the availability of arthritis-specific programs were identified as needs.


This study has implications for how to market exercise to individuals with arthritis and how communities and health care professionals can facilitate the uptake of exercise. These implications are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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