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Enablers and barriers for being physically active: experiences from adults with congenital heart disease
European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing  (IF3.908),  Pub Date : 2020-10-30, DOI: 10.1177/1474515120963314
Annika Bay, Kristina Lämås, Malin Berghammer, Camilla Sandberg, Bengt Johansson

BACKGROUND In general, adults with congenital heart disease have reduced exercise capacity and many do not reach the recommended level of physical activity. A physically active lifestyle is essential to maintain health and to counteract acquired cardiovascular disease, therefore enablers and barriers for being physically active are important to identify. AIM To describe what adults with complex congenital heart diseases consider as physical activity, and what they experience as enablers and barriers for being physically active. METHODS A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews in which 14 adults with complex congenital heart disease (seven women) participated. The interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis. RESULTS The analysis revealed four categories considered enablers and barriers - encouragement, energy level, approach and environment. The following is exemplified by the category encouragement as an enabler: if one had experienced support and encouragement to be physically active as a child, they were more positive to be physically active as an adult. In contrast, as a barrier, if the child lacked support and encouragement from others, they had never had the opportunity to learn to be physically active. CONCLUSION It is important for adults with congenital heart disease to have the opportunity to identify barriers and enablers for being physically active. They need knowledge about their own exercise capacity and need to feel safe that physical activity is not harmful. This knowledge can be used by healthcare professionals to promote, support and eliminate misconceptions about physical activity. Barriers can potentially be transformed into enablers through increased knowledge about attitudes and prerequisites.