Understanding physical activity and exercise behaviors in patients with heart failure

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Abstract

Objective

Explore perceptions of physical activity/exercise in patients with chronic heart failure (HF).

Background

Although activity/exercise are HF self-care expectations, perceptions of patients are not well understood.

Methods

Ambulatory adults with HF were interviewed. Data were transcribed, categorized, and themes were developed.

Results

Of 48 participants, mean age was 58.8 ± 13.2 years. Themes that emerged were: patients not knowing and physicians not telling; scared into doing or not doing it; life gets in the way; meaningful support versus meaningless talk; emotional connections to exercise; value does not equal motivation to move; and disconnection between self-confidence and actions. Self-confidence in and value of physical activity/exercise were not primary motivators to action. Generally, physicians failed to provide details regarding exercise dose, length, warm-up and cool-down expectations, and usual and adverse effects.

Conclusions

Patient perceptions of what physical activity/exercise means are multi-dimensional; and fears, emotions, priority and participatory social support contribute to adherence.

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