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Attitudes towards exercise in patients with chronic disease: the influence of comorbid factors on motivation and ability to exercise
  1. Claire-Louise Murphy1,
  2. Barry J Sheane1,
  3. Gaye Cunnane1,2
  1. 1Department of Rheumatology, St James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gaye Cunnane, Department of Rheumatology, St James's Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland; gcunnane{at}


Background Exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. It has a well defined role in maintaining health in chronic illness. This study was undertaken to determine attitudes towards exercise in patients admitted to hospital with medical illnesses.

Methods A questionnaire on attitudes to and extent of exercise was devised and administered to patients admitted to an acute medical unit of a large university teaching hospital in 2008. Data were analysed using SPSS.

Results 107 patients participated, mean age 57 years (range 20–92): 79% had at least one chronic disease, 60% were overweight, 42% did little or no exercise, while 81% did not achieve moderate physical activity. Factors associated with reduced activity included increasing age, alcohol excess, lower education level, and unemployment. Approximately 50% of the patients blamed health problems while the other half cited lack of time or motivation as reasons for not exercising. Only 3% were aware of national or international exercise recommendations.

Conclusions Much greater awareness of the importance of exercise and its impact on health and longevity is needed. Healthcare providers have an important role in exercise education in patients with acute and chronic disease.

  • Exercise
  • chronic disease
  • motivation
  • general medicine (see internal medicine)
  • preventive medicine
  • public health

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the ethics committee of St James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.