Purpose: Few lifestyle choices have a more significant impact on the length of life than adopting regular physical exercise. Lack of exercise contributes to many preventable diseases, depression and reduced quality of life. Postmenopausal women (PMW) frequently become sedentary during this stage of life, which increases their risk for poor physical and mental health outcomes. Interventions aimed at improving exercise in this population demonstrate short-term effectiveness but fail at sustaining exercise habits in the long-term. To date, there is limited research examining PMW exercise habits and attitudes towards exercise. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the lived experiences of postmenopausal women (PMW) with exercise and the role of exercise in PMW’s daily lives.

Design and Method: A qualitative, descriptive phenomenological design was selected for this study. Saturation was achieved at 10 PMW. Data collection and analysis were performed using Colaizzi’s structured methodology.

Results: An exhaustive description of the lived experience of PMW and exercise. Three major themes emerged from the analysis: Facilitators of adherence to exercise, barriers to exercise, and family influence.

Conclusion: The hope is that this study will be the basis for exercise researchers and health care professionals to design future studies and interventions to facilitate exercise and reduce barriers to exercise over the long term. The findings of this study articulate the demand for additional support for the PMW to exercise and will hopefully provide a foundation for future research studying exercise in PMW women.

Date of publication

Fall 10-18-2019

Document Type

Dissertation (Local Only Access)



Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Jenifer Chilton, Dr. Gloria Duke, Dr. Sharon Dormire


Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

Available for download on Monday, November 15, 2021