It is estimated that 17% of the UK adult population are informal carers, usually for a family member, with a majority reporting that they are not able to engage in physical activity as much as they would like. The aim of this review is to provide a greater understanding of the prevalence of, and barriers and facilitators to, physical activity of informal carers in the United Kingdom.
A systematic review of relevant databases and grey literature was undertaken, following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidance, from its inception until July 17, 2020.
Barriers to physical activity include increasing aging, not wanting to leave the caree alone, the caree being unable to take part in activities, health conditions, fatigue, lack of time, and difficulties in changing the routine for the caree. Facilitators include an appreciation of the benefits of engaging in exercise, previous participation in activities, group activities with similar people, and having some free time.
Due to the paucity of research into the prevalence of, and barriers and facilitators to, physical activity in informal carers in the United Kingdom, this systematic review highlights the need for further research, focusing primarily on the physical activity of informal carers caring for individuals with a range of conditions. A further systematic review exploring these issues internationally is warranted.