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J Adv Nurs. 2017 Apr;73(4):917-929. doi: 10.1111/jan.13181. Epub 2016 Nov 8.

Predictors of physical activity and barriers to exercise in nursing and medical students.

Author information

1
School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, UK.
2
School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, UK.
3
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, UK.

Abstract

AIMS:

To investigate physical activity levels of nursing and medicine students, examine predictors of physical activity level and examine the most influential benefits and barriers to exercise.

BACKGROUND:

Healthcare professionals have low levels of physical activity, which increases their health risk and may influence their health promotion practices with patients.

DESIGN:

We surveyed 361 nursing (n = 193) and medicine (n = 168) students studying at a UK medical school.

METHODS:

Questionnaire survey, active over 12 months in 2014-2015. Measures included physical activity level, benefits and barriers to exercise, social support, perceived stress and self-efficacy for exercise.

RESULTS:

Many nursing and medicine students did not achieve recommended levels of physical activity (nursing 48%; medicine 38%). Perceived benefits of exercise were health related, with medicine students identifying additional benefits for stress relief. Most notable barriers to exercise were as follows: lack of time, facilities having inconvenient schedules and exercise not fitting around study or placement schedules. Nursing students were less active than medicine students; they perceived fewer benefits and more barriers to exercise and reported lower social support for exercise. Physical activity of nursing and medicine students was best predicted by self-efficacy and social support, explaining 35% of the variance.

CONCLUSION:

Physical activity should be promoted in nursing and medicine students. Interventions should aim to build self-efficacy for exercise and increase social support. Interventions should be developed that are targeted specifically to shift-working frontline care staff, to reduce schedule-related barriers to exercise and to increase accessibility to workplace health and well-being initiatives.

KEYWORDS:

exercise; healthcare students; nursing; physical activity; self-efficacy; social support

PMID:
27731886
DOI:
10.1111/jan.13181
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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