Being physically active is a key factor in maintaining good cardiovascular health however many people find being physically active hard to incorporate into their lifestyles. “Exercise on prescription” interventions that involve a health professional’s written advice to a patient to be more physically active have been used with variable success.
A meta-analysis of the efficacy of gym-based exercise referrals for inactive people with medical conditions (Williams, Hendry, France, Lewis, & Wilkinson, 2007) suggested that while these were effective the absolute health risk reduction was small due to patients failing to maintain activity levels over time.
The authors show that, across the studies, 17 sedentary people would have to be referred for one person to become moderately active. They cite a range of lifestyle and resource factors that limit the efficacy of these interventions.
Given the lack of time and potential access limitations, it is important to find ways, other than expensive face-to-face programs, to provide individuals with information, skills, and knowledge to facilitate behaviour change. This study looks at the efficacy of two interventions intended to overcome some of the barriers identified above, both with a focus on making activity fun by linking it with entry-level sporting activity.