Health Promotion International
School of Medical and Health Sciences / Exercise Medicine Research Institute
Australian Heart Foundation [grant number PB 09P4842] / Healthway [grant number 18533]
Indigenous Standpoint Theory forms the epistemological foundation for this study and methodological choices were made within this theoretical framework to ensure culturally responsive research processes that engaged the Indigenous agenda of self-determination and rights. The objectives of this research were to determine: (i) Indigenous perceptions of the facilitators and barriers to exercise; (ii) The potential feasibility and sustainability of an exercise intervention. In this context, Participatory Action Research methods were used to design the data-gathering instrument for the study—a questionnaire, co-designed with the Noongar Aboriginal community of Perth, Western Australia. This self-administered questionnaire, distributed to participants by email, post and manual delivery, sought to elicit the factors that impact uptake and retention of regular exercise activities. Questionnaire data included individual demographic detail and specific question responses on labelled 5 point Likert Scales. Specific question responses were tabulated by Likert Scale label category and the response distribution for each question was enumerated. Simple descriptive statistics (measures of central tendency and variance) were used to characterize the data set and the Chi squared test was used to evaluate frequency differences between males and females. A total of 133 participants (71 females) completed the questionnaire. The results indicated that people valued exercise. The most common barriers indicated by participants were exercising with an injury (63%), changing diet (58%), finding time to exercise every day (55%) and exercising the next day with pain from exercising the day before (54%). A larger proportion of males (34%) than females (24%) reported greater ease in finding time to exercise every day (p < 0.05). Facilitators mainly related to the potential social and community benefits of exercising with other people, preferably in small groups, and the importance of a culturally secure venue. These findings shed light on what a culturally secure exercise programme might involve for the Noongar community. As this may have implications for other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and international First Nations’ Peoples, more focused research is needed on the place of traditional physical activities and the nature of culturally secure exercise programmes and spaces to enable wider application.
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