Patients with severe obesity may have special challenges in regard to increasing health and well-being through physical activity (PA). The biggest challenge is maintaining the recommended PA level on a long-term basis. Yet, little focus has been put on the experiences of individuals with severe obesity during PA when physically active in everyday life after intervention has ended.
to explore the experiences of being physically active among individuals with severe obesity in everyday life 18 months after the start of a lifestyle intervention. Design: a qualitative longitudinal study of individual follow-up interviews founded in hermeneutic phenomenology and an existential lifeworld theory of suffering and well-being. The study was approved by the Danish Data Protection Agency (J. no. 1-16-02-425-15).
Interviews were conducted by the same interviewer in the participants’ home environment across three of five regions in Denmark.
Ten adults with severe obesity (BMI >40 kg/m2) previously recruited from a public lifestyle intervention program.
The analysis revealed that females and males emphasised different experiences of being active in everyday life. The females experienced ’Appreciation of process and vitality’ and the males experienced ’The challenge of an active and joyful living’. One common main theme emerged: ’Fluctuating mood’ was found to influence physical activity level.
The study highlights the experiences of well-being in relation to staying physically active after lifestyle intervention. The fluctuations in mood were part of everyday life and it was an on-going challenge to balance mood in order to keep up the efforts. The ability to find settlement and modify PA expectations was part of feeling capable. Healthcare providers are suggested to address well-being in mood to help patients become and stay physically active in everyday life.