Punjabi Sikh Patients’ Perceived Barriers to Engaging in Physical Exercise Following Myocardial Infarction


  • All authors have read and approved of the manuscript

Correspondence to:

Dr. Paul Galdas, Department of Health Sciences, The University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD. E-mail: paul.galdas@york.ac.uk



The aim of this research was to describe Punjabi Sikh patients’ perceived barriers to engaging in physical exercise following myocardial infarction (MI).

Design and Sample

A qualitative, interpretive descriptive methodology was used. The sample included 15 Punjabi Sikh patients who were attending a cardiac rehabilitation education program in an urban center of British Columbia, Canada, following MI.


Data were collected via semi-structured interviews and were audio recorded, translated from Punjabi to English, and transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed using an interpretive thematic approach that involved a process of coding and constant comparison.


Four key factors emerged that related to participants’ perceived barriers to sustained engagement in physical activity: (1) difficulty in determining safe exertion levels independently; (2) fatigue and weakness; (3) preference for ‘informal’ exercise; and (4) migration-related challenges.


The findings have implications for the design and delivery of health promotion strategies aimed at Punjabi Sikh patients’ post-MI that is contingent on the use of ‘formal’ exercise settings to promote regular physical activity. The willingness among Punjabi Sikh patients to practise brisk walking offers a positive direction that public health nurses and other healthcare professionals may want to capitalize on in the delivery of exercise-related health promotion.