It was found that there is an association between health care providers' recommendations for physical activity and adherence to physical activity guidelines among adults aged 45 or older who had arthritis. This was less in those with other health problems and were overweight.
Subjects who received providers' recommendations were more likely to adhere to physical activity guidelines than those who did not. The rationale for why people follow providers' recommendations for physical activity can be explained by Parsons' traditional sick role perspective, which states that people respond to pain, discomfort, and overall sense of well-being. They consult health care providers when symptoms interfere with their ability to function in their daily activities and seek providers' care and cooperate with them in the process of recovery. The difference in knowledge between the health care providers and patients justifies both the providers' assumption of authority and the patients' trust, confidence, and norm of obedience. Hence, with the debilitating pain that interferes with their daily functions, people with arthritis are more likely to adhere to physical activity guidelines when they receive providers' recommendations.
It is recommended to take 30 minutes of low- to moderate-level physical activity 5 days per week for people with all forms of arthritis. The low adherence to physical activity among people with arthritis can be addressed with providers' recommendations in clinical settings.
Providers may ask patients about their engagement in physical activity and advise them about the benefits of physical activity during their visits. Providers can assess patients' readiness to engage in physical activity and develop strategies to facilitate patients' physical activity engagement. Furthermore, providers may assist patients in planning and including physical activity in their daily schedule. Finally, in every subsequent visit, providers may follow up on patients' adherence to physical activity.
These results indicate that health care providers should be aware of the effect of their recommendations on patients' adherence to physical activity guidelines and should promote physical activity engagement in clinical settings. Future research should focus on the influence of race/ethnicity on the association between providers' recommendations and adherence to physical activity guidelines among people with arthritis and strategies to promote physical activity, especially in minority populations.