It’s been life changing : perceived benefits of participation in the ‘Live Active’ exercise referral scheme

Prior, F ORCID:, Coffey, M ORCID:, Robins, A and Cook, PA ORCID: 2018, 'It’s been life changing : perceived benefits of participation in the ‘Live Active’ exercise referral scheme' , Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 15 (10) , p. 223.

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Introduction: Exercise referral schemes (ERSs) aim to increase the physical activity levels and health outcomes of people with chronic health conditions. To date, the efficacy of ERSs has been inconclusive and largely based on quantitative evaluations which fail to appreciate the full spectrum of potential benefits. The aim of this study was to address gaps in the literature by using qualitative enquiry to understand how participants perceive to have benefitted from an ERS.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 participants who had been engaged in the 6-month long ‘Live Active’ ERS (Tameside, UK) for 6-12 months. Purposive sampling was used to ensure a balance of age, gender and medical conditions. Interviews were analysed using framework analysis.

Results: The benefits of participation were appreciated by most in a wide ranging manner. Key themes to emerge included: becoming physically active, physical and mental health benefits, social benefits, and adjunct benefits such as changes to medication. The extent of improvement in outcomes was often perceived to be limited by existing health conditions and their unpredictable nature. Most participants predicted that without the referral they would not have made successful attempts at becoming physically active.

Conclusion: This study adds to emerging research, finding that participants experience a wide range of benefits which go beyond those traditionally measured by evaluations. Future evaluations should consider using methods which capture the full spectrum of potential benefits for a more representative evaluation of impact.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Physical Activity and Health
Publisher: Human Kinetics
ISSN: 1543-3080
Related URLs:
Funders: Sport England, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Public Health
Depositing User: Faye Prior
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2019 15:12
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 01:20

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