Health Promot Perspect. 2021;11(4): 476-484.
doi: 10.34172/hpp.2021.60
PMID: 35079593
PMCID: PMC8767082
Scopus ID: 85122584283
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Original Article

“I feel too lethargic to do physical activity”: Perceptions of Iranian adults on the barriers to perform regular physical activity

Behrouz Fathi 1 ORCID logo, Haidar Nadrian 2, Mina Hashemiparast 3, Saeed Nikookheslat 4, Safooreh Esmaeilzadeh 5, Rahim Khodayari-Zarnaq 1,6* ORCID logo

1 Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Management and Medical Informatics, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
2 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
3 Department of Health Education and Promotion, School of Public Health, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran
4 Department of Exercise Physiology, School of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran
5 Department of Health Education and Promotion, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
6 Tabriz Health Services Management Research Center, Health Management and Safety Promotion Research Institute, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
*Corresponding Author: *Corresponding Author: Rahim Khodayari-Zarnaq, Email: , Email: Khodayarir@tbzmed. ac.ir


Background: Despite the intention to perform physical activity (PA), a number of individuals cannot manage to have PA program on a regular basis. In this study we explored the barriers of regular PA behavior among healthy adults in Tabriz, Iran.

Methods: This qualitative study with a conventional content analysis approach, was carried out from June to September 2020. Nineteen 30-59 years old individuals, were purposefully (purposive sampling) selected to participate in the study. The participants were formerly registered as “physically inactive” in the health records of Tabriz Health System. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted until data saturation. Data were managed using MAXQDA-10 software.

Results: The barriers of regular PA that emerged from our data were being listless and lethargic, non-supportive environment, disintegration in PA education chain, and restrictive social norms.

Conclusion: Our findings uncover several PA barriers that are less discussed in the literature. Poor level of regular PA among adults in Iran, as a developing context, is rooted in perceptions with social and economic origins, which should be taken into account by public health policy makers while planning PA promotion programs in such communities. To promote regular PA among healthy adults in developing countries, regular PA programs should be tailored to bridge the gap between their recognition of PA barriers and subsequent behavior change through creating group dynamics highlighting the measures to diminish the behavior.

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Submitted: 22 Jun 2021
Accepted: 20 Aug 2021
ePublished: 19 Dec 2021
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