University of Strathclyde student experiences of an online physical activity programme

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Aim: During and post Covid-19 access to health and physical activity (PA) support was restricted due to facility closures, social distancing measures and periods of self-isolation and/or illness. University students may still be experiencing some level of restriction to physically being on campus or accessing PA opportunities. Furthermore, post Covid-19, the argument to continue the use of online support, either in isolation or in conjunction with in-person support, is valid as students express desires for more accessible and flexible support options. Data on student experiences of online physical activity is vital in terms of progressing and adapting support. The aim of this study is to qualitatively explore student experiences of using an online activity support programme.Methods: 10 qualitative interviews were undertaken with Strathclyde University students approximately four weeks after being introduced to an online activity support programme (ExHALE). All participants had been referred via a PA referral scheme to Strathclyde University sport centre (Strathclyde Sport) via various health and wellbeing avenues.Results: Participants identified differing opinions of the usability and successfulness of ExHALE regarding increasing activity levels and confidence in being physically active. Similarly, there were various experiences (both positive and negative) of the online format/structure. Analysis of data gathered highlighted the demand for multiple avenues of support for physical activity as well as the need for institutions to take ownership and responsibility in giving students opportunities to become, and stay, physically active.Conclusion: Online support avenues were essential during the Covid-19 pandemic. Coming away from such restrictions we may find ourselves yearning to go back to busy, bustling activity facilities, however, some university students have now become more comfortable in an online environment. This study found that several of its participants found online support both beneficial and less intimating than “traditional” forms of exercise. Further work is now needed to look at the dual nature of activity resources, to allow for universities to receive appropriate feedback guidance on appropriate physical activity support.
Date of Award1 Oct 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorFiona Muirhead (Supervisor) & Alexandra Mavroeidi (Supervisor)

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