DOI: 10.1111/inm.13302 ISSN: 1445-8330

Barriers to using physical exercise as an intervention within inpatient mental health settings: A systematic review

Catriona McKenna, Beata Moyo, John Goodwin
  • Pshychiatric Mental Health


Service providers find it difficult to implement Physical Exercise (PE) strategies in routine care within inpatient mental health settings even though they perceive it to be an effective therapy, with a robust evidence base. Identifying barriers that exist can assist with the development of future interventions and support PE services being introduced into mental health inpatient settings. The aim of this systematic review was to synthesise the evidence on the barriers or perceived barriers that exist amongst service users and providers when incorporating PE as an intervention within inpatient mental health settings. Using a narrative synthesis approach, four main themes were identified: (i) Barriers relating to service users' mental and physical health, (ii) Factors relating to service providers, (iii) Environmental factors and (iv) Cultural factors. Both service users and providers need more knowledge on implementing PE in inpatient mental health settings. Tailored programmes for service users are warranted, with specialist roles for staff developed.

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