Improving the health of adults over 50, through physical activity
First Step To Active Health For Providers
Your First Step
For Providers
  Prescribing PA
  Physical Assessment
  Physical Activity Rx
  Progressing Programs
  Modifying Programs
  Training Program
Sample Kit
News Events
About Us
Contact Us

Get Adobe Acrobat Reader

Strategies / How to Change Perceptions & Behaviors

  1. Recognize personal barriers to physical activity, including lack of motivation, lack of time, lack of knowledge on how to start a program, lack of community facilities, fear of injury, or disease/disability that hinder physical activity.

    Quotes Barrier Strategy
    I'm not motivated

    I don't feel like exercising

    I'm too old; it's too late

    Exercise is not for me

    I'm too tired
    Lack of motivation Emphasize the importance and benefits of regular physical activity, including health and function. Discuss methods of getting started such as walking the dog, taking the stairs, etc.
    I don't have time

    I have too many other things to do
    Lack of time Begin with 5-10 minutes of daily activity that is enjoyable. Set aside a specific time of the day to be active.
    I can't afford a gym

    I don't have transportation

    There's no safe place to exercise

    The weather is bad (hot, cold, etc)
    Lack of facilities Physical activity doesn't require expensive equipment, and can be done at home.
    I'm afraid of getting hurt

    I get too sore
    Fear of injury Moderate activity is safe. Soreness is to be expected with any new exercise program, and will resolve in a few days.
    I don't know how to get started

    I don't know what to do

    I'm afraid to bulk up
    Lack of knowledge Discuss how patients can do simple and enjoyable tasks, and provide a structured activity program specific to their needs.
    I have sore joints, bad back

    I'm too fat or heavy

    My condition will get worse
    Disease or disability Patients may need referral to another specialist (such as a physical therapist) to address physical conditions. Regular exercise actually benefits most injuries and diseases.
    I don't have anyone to exercise with

    My family/friends think it's a bad idea

    Culturally specific questions
    Lack of friend/family support Encourage patients to find a partner to exercise with, and to educate their family members on the importance of activity.

  2. Note importance of increasing physical activity for health and prevention of disease & disability
    • Reduces risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease.
    • Aids in the management of active problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, or high cholesterol.
    • Can improve the ability to function and stay independent in the face of active problems like lung disease or arthritis

  3. Avoid the term, "exercise" and avoid the perception of strenuous workouts; use the term, "physical activity" and encourage individuals to incorporate activity in daily life, encouraging a lifestyle change.

  4. Recommend behavioral modification programs for individuals such as "Active Living". .

Return to the Strategy Page.