Exercise referral

Exercise referral – a cross sectional survey from the exercise referral centre (Frisklivssentral) in Modum, Norway

Scientific article in Fysioterapeuten 3/14.


Solfrid Bratland-Sanda, PhD, førsteamanuensis i idrettsvitenskap ved Høgskolen i Telemark og forsker ved Modum Bad. E-post: solfrid.bratland-sanda@hit.no.

Frøydis Lislevatn, folkehelsekoordinator i Flesberg Kommune, og masterstudent ved Høgskolen i Telemark 

Anners Lerdal, professor ved Universitetet i Oslo og seniorforsker ved Lovisenberg Diakonale Sykehus


Aim: Exercise referral centres are increasing in number in Norway, and exercise referral is viewed as an important intervention for improvement of public health. The aim of this study was therefore to describe changes in activity level after  exercise referral.  

Design: Cross-sectional study using a self-report questionnaire.

Material: Of 548 persons referred to the exercise referral centre in Modum from 2008-2010, 169 (34%) responded to this survey. The data collection was performed during January-March 2012.

Methods: The respondents were asked questions about their health condition (COOP WONCA), coping strategies (BACQ) and questions related to their experiences with exercise referral.

Results: The respondents received on average 1.9 (SD = 1.5) exercise referrals. A total of 55% of the respondents reported increased activity level 2-4 years after the exercise referral period. The most frequently reported reason for increased activity level was exercising with others, whereas increasing health problems was the main barrier to activity. The respondents with increased activity level reported better physical health condition and a better experience of coordination between the exercise referral centre and the referring institution.

Conclusion: The greatest barrier to physical activity among receivers of exercise referral is increasing health problems, and not lack of time. The importance of exercising with others  indicates a need for group exercises. Adequate coordination between the exercise referral centre and the referring institution is crucial for maintenance of increased activity level after the exercise referral period. 

Keywords: physical activity, exercise therapy, adults, life style, change of behaviour.

Download the full version in Norwegian.