Barriers towards physical activity in COPD: a quantitative cross-sectional, questionnaire-based study

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

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalPosterResearchpeer-review


Background: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive but preventable and treatable disease, and currently the fourth leading cause of death in the world. Even though it is evident that physical activity relieves dyspnea, anxiety, fatigue and increases quality of life and exercise and functional capacity, is it seldom implemented in daily life of people with COPD.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore barriers towards physical activity in people with COPD and to investigate whether FEV1 and smoking status are negatively correlated to daily activity.

Design: A quantitative cross-sectional study conducted in Denmark in 2015. Data was collected using questionnaires developed by the authors after pilot testing it at rehabilitation with ten people diagnosed with COPD. In total, 493 people with COPD were included and data analysis was conducted using STATA.

Results: The most significant barrier towards physical activity was low motivation (p < 0,001 and p = 0,009) and comorbidity (p = 0,035 and p = 0,016). In the univariate regression fear of breathlessness was significant (p = 0,009) but became irrelevant (p = 0,385) in the multivariate regression. FEV1, smoking status and training availability had no influence on the level of physical activity.

Conclusion: In our study, the main reason why people with COPD did not engage in physical activity was low motivation. The reason for low motivation and hence inactivity (training availability was not a barrier), could be that the training itself was not interesting for the participants. Maybe if the training was creative e.g. if there were yoga or singing classes for people with COPD, it would not be a barrier. Further exploratory studies is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Publication date5 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2020
EventERS International Congress 2020 - Wien, Austria
Duration: 5 Sept 20205 Sept 2020


ConferenceERS International Congress 2020


  • health, nutrition and quality of life
  • barriers
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • motivation
  • physical activity


Dive into the research topics of 'Barriers towards physical activity in COPD: a quantitative cross-sectional, questionnaire-based study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this