Barriers toward Physical Activity in COPD: A Quantitative Cross-Sectional, Questionnaire-Based Study

Sajitha Sophia Sritharan, Elisabeth Bomholt Østergaard, Jacob Lynge Callesen, Maria Elkjær, Louise Sand, Ole Hilberg, Søren Helbo Skaarup, Anders Løkke

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive but preventable and treatable disease and the third leading cause of death globally. Even though it is evident that physical activity (PA) relieves dyspnea, anxiety, fatigue, and increases quality of life and functional capacity, it is seldom implemented in daily life in people with COPD. The aim of this study was to identify barriers toward PA in people with COPD and to examine the role of FEV1 and smoking status in PA. The study is a quantitative cross-sectional study conducted in Denmark among people with COPD. Data was collected using questionnaires developed by the authors after pilot testing. In total, 493 people with COPD were included. The most significant barrier toward PA was low motivation (p < 0,001 and p = 0,009) and comorbidity (p = 0,035 and p = 0,016). Fear of breathlessness was significantly (p < 0,001) correlated to low motivation. FEV1, and smoking status were not associated with the level of PA. In our study, the main reason why people with COPD did not engage in PA was low motivation, where fear of breathlessness and co-morbidity correlated significantly with low motivation. Studies have shown that doing activities that are enjoyable promotes PA in daily life, indicating that activities that enhance motivation might help people with COPD to see PA as part of their life rather than an obligation. Further exploratory studies are needed.
Translated title of the contributionBarrierer for fysisk aktivitet, når man har KOL: En kvantitativ spørgeskemaundersøgelse
Original languageEnglish
JournalCOPD: Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)272-280
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2021


  • disease, health science and nursing
  • health, nutrition and quality of life


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