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Staying alive: The meaning of a cardiac rehabilitation exercise group

Meijen, Carla, Meadows, Steve (2015) Staying alive: The meaning of a cardiac rehabilitation exercise group. In: 14th European Congress of Sport Psychology, 14-19 July 2015, Bern, Switzerland. (Unpublished) (KAR id:58589)

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Exercise is considered to be a cornerstone intervention in cardiac rehabilitation, which is normally delivered through exercise groups run by clinical staff. Continued attendance at community exercise groups is therefore important in maintaining this lifestyle change (Clark, Mundy, Catto, & MacIntyre, 2010; Martin & Woods, 2012; Thow, Rafferty, & Kelly, 2008). The aim of this study was to explore what makes cardiac patients stay with an exercise group. Two focus groups were conducted with 25 cardiac rehabilitation exercise group participants (mean age = 61, SD = 10.42) from two exercise groups in England, the questions focused on what makes them return to the group and what they perceived to be benefits of the group exercise. Thematic analysis demonstrated that the structure of the exercise group was the main source why exercisers returned to the group, this included the six sub-themes social support, routine, progression, enjoyment, leadership skills, and health benefits. Confidence, survival, and getting back to normality were identified as perceived benefits of the exercise group. Participants felt that the exercise groups helped them getting back to normality and without the exercise groups they would not achieve the required exercise prescription. This study demonstrates the importance of exercise groups in the process of changing cardiac patients’ lifestyle and getting them back to normality. The group environment appears to contribute to longer term adherence to community organised cardiac rehabilitation exercise, and group leaders could be educated on how to facilitate social support, progression, and they could help to increase group participants’ confidence.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Poster)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Sport and Exercise Sciences
Depositing User: C. Meijen
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2016 13:28 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 11:01 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Meijen, Carla.

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Meadows, Steve.

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