Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine physical activity preferences and barriers to exercise in an urban diabetes clinic population.
Methods: A survey was conducted of all patients attending the clinic for the first time. Evaluation measures were type and frequency of favorite leisure-time physical activity, prevalence and types of reported barriers to exercise, and analysis of patient characteristics associated with reporting an obstacle to exercise.
Results: For 605 patients (44% male, 89% African American, mean age = 50 years, mean duration of diabetes = 5.6 years), the average frequency of leisure activity was 3.5 days per week (mean time = 45 minutes per session). Walking outdoors was preferred, but 52% reported an exercise barrier (predominantly pain). Patients who cited an impediment to physical activity exercised fewer days per week and less time each session compared with persons without a barrier. Increasing age, body mass index, college education, and being a smoker increased the odds of reporting a barrier; being male decreased the chances. Men reported more leisure-time physical activity than women. Exercise preferences and types of barriers changed with age.
Conclusions: Recognition of patient exercise preferences and barriers should help in developing exercise strategies for improving glycemic control.