Personalized paths for physical activity: developing a person-centered quantitative function to determine a customized amount of exercise and enhancing individual commitment

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Abstract

Background: Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are leading causes of mortality. These conditions are also known as chronic diseases of long duration and generally slow progression. Physical activity (PA) is a main factor to delay symptoms and consequences of NCDs. In last decades, reduced physical exercise has been observed across all ages. Despite educational campaigns aimed at modifying unhealthy habits, it is difficult to promote healthy lifestyles in general population. Poor interest, lack of motivation, as well as career and family commitments hinder people’s participation in regular PA programs. In this study we propose a theoretical person-centred approach to actively involve general population in enhancing their opportunity to perform PA based on personalized needs and targets. Methods: We defined four profiles of baseline PA levels (inactive, moderately inactive, moderately active, and active people) by referring to Metabolic equivalents (METs) based on individual answers to General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPPAQ). Results: Based on the answers to the GPPAQ and by computing the related METs for each profile of baseline exercise levels, we developed an innovative person-centered web-based algorithm/function for enhancing and measuring PA participation in community settings. This function can compute evidence-based standardized profiles of participants, personalized goals of PA being functional to the purpose of maintaining or gaining health benefits, as well as the type and duration of PA needed to reach these goals. Conclusion: It might be speculated that this approach would be a reliable method for increasing people’s self-efficacy and population adherence to recommended levels of PA. However, this theoretical proposal requires to be implemented in further research.

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Iolascon, G., Gimigliano, F., Di Pietro, G., Moretti, A., Paoletta, M., Rivezzi, M., … Piscitelli, P. (2021). Personalized paths for physical activity: developing a person-centered quantitative function to determine a customized amount of exercise and enhancing individual commitment. BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13102-021-00282-4

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