Identifying barriers to remaining physically active after rehabilitation

The aim of this study was to describe readiness for change and barriers to physical activity in older adults and to contrast perceptions of physical therapists and patients using the Barriers to Being Active Quiz. Regular physical activity is essential to recovery following discharge from physical therapy. Physical therapists are positioned to support change in physical activity habits for those transitioning to home care. Understanding of readiness for change and barriers to physical activity could optimize recovery. Thirteen physical therapists enrolled in the study and invited patients who met the inclusion criteria to enroll (79 patients enrolled). The physical therapists provided the ICD-9 code, the physical therapist diagnosis, and completed the Barriers to Being Active Quiz as they perceived their patients would. The enrolled patients provided demographics and filled out the Satisfaction With Life Scale, the stages-of-change scale for physical activity, and the Barriers to Being Active Quiz. Patients were mostly in the early stages of readiness for change. Patients as well as physical therapists identified lack of willpower as the primary barrier to physical activity. Patients identified lack of willpower and social influence as critical barriers more frequently than physical therapists, whereas physical therapists identified fear of injury and lack of time more often than their patients did. Differences between physical therapists and their patients were noted for fear of injury (z = 2.66, P = .008) and lack of time (z = 3.46, P = .001). The stage of change for physical activity impacted perception of social influence (χ(2) = 9.64, P<.05), lack of willpower (χ(2) = 21.91, P<.01), and lack of skill (χ(2) = 12.46, P<.05). Women ranked fear of injury higher than men did (χ(2) = 6.76, P<.01).

Understanding readiness for change in and barriers to physical activity could enable physical therapists to more effectively tailor intervention strategies to impact physical activity behavior change.