Understanding exercise uptake and adherence for people with chronic conditions: a new model demonstrating the importance of exercise identity, benefits of attending and support

Health Educ Res. 2011 Oct;26(5):908-22. doi: 10.1093/her/cyr052. Epub 2011 Jul 6.


Understanding the factors influencing uptake and adherence to exercise for people with chronic conditions from different ages, genders and ethnicities is important for planning exercise services. This paper presents evidence supporting a new model of exercise uptake and adherence applicable to people with chronic conditions from diverse socio-demographic backgrounds. The study is based on 130 semi-structured interviews with people with chronic conditions, including both those who did and those who did not attend exercise services, and supporters of those who attended. Analysis followed the guidelines of 'framework analysis'. Results show that three factors were particularly important in influencing adherence behavior: (i) exercise identity, (ii) support and (iii) perceived benefits of attending. Social and cultural identities impacted on willingness to exercise, importance of exercise and perceived appropriateness of exercising. Having at least one supporter providing different types of support was associated with high levels of attendance. Those people who valued the social and psychological benefits of attending were more likely to be high attenders. The new model illustrates interaction between these three factors and discusses how these can be taken into account when planning exercise services for people with chronic conditions drawn from diverse socio-demographic groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease / ethnology
  • Chronic Disease / psychology*
  • Chronic Disease / therapy
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • London
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance / ethnology
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Identification
  • Young Adult