A number of factors seem to contribute to the decline in physical activity levels in recent decades. These include:
->A significant reduction in the journeys made by foot or bicycle;
->An increase in the journeys made by car;
->Increased time engaged in sedentary behaviours such as watching TV, computer usage, reading, listening to music.
Individuals may experience a variety of barriers which prevent them from being physically active. Here are a number of the most commonly cited barriers to physical activity:
->Environmental factors - there is increasing recognition that environmental factors play an important role in promoting and supporting physically active lifestyles. These include access, safety, neighbourhood and community environmental supports;
->Neighbourhood safety - convenient and accessible facilities and proximity to facilities have been noted as factors that influence physical activity;
->Time - work, educational and family demands have been reported as barriers to being active, particularly for women. Women who are employed and have young children are less likely to exercise than women who do not have children;
->Confidence and past experience of activity - lack of confidence of an individual in their ability to perform an exercise can be a barrier to activity. Also, clients who have never been very active will find it harder to take up exercise;
->Personal - lack of interest, enjoyment, willpower and motivation are also barriers. Clients may not realise that exercise does not necessarily entail ‘hard’ tasks like jogging and weight training;
->Health - for some clients, musculoskeletal ailments or chronic diseases such as diabetes or osteoarthritis may create an obstacle to activity and may require additional preparation such as modifying exercises, using different equipment and so on;
->Doctors’ lack of emphasis - doctors can influence clients' behaviour and may inadvertently be reinforcing a sedentary lifestyle. By not asking clients about physical activity, doctors can give the impression that exercise is unimportant.