Barriers and Cultural Influences on Sport and Exercise Participation

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Barriers and Cultural Influences on Sport and Exercise participation

Medical Conditions: Medical conditions are a barrier in sport and exercise participation as they usually reduce someone’s ability to compete in a sport at either to a required level or even completely leave them unable to participate in a sport. Medical conditions could apply to people with either a physical or mental disability which includes for example people with amputated limbs which is a physical disability and also cerebral palsy which is a mental disability. Medical conditions stop participation in sport in many ways, whether an individual can compete at a certain level of a sport or any form of the sport at all really depends on the type and severity of their medical condition. An example of a sportsperson experiencing a barrier through their medical condition would be Oscar Pistorius who is a Paralympic sprinter and has lost both lower parts of his legs. The barrier which he experiences is that he cannot compete on the same level playing field as Olympic sprinters due to his condition.

There are 2 initiatives to overcome this barrier; the first being the creation of the Paralympics which allows disabled athletes to compete against other disabled athletes which allows for them to compete on a level playing field and also create more fair competition for the athletes. The other initiative is for prosthetic limbs to be created for Oscar Pistorius and other disable athletes which replicate actual limbs. This creation of the prosthetic limbs allows people such as Oscar Pistorius to be able to compete alongside Olympic athletes should they be able to actually qualify and compete, even though there remains to be controversy surrounding this idea. I think that it is unfair for Oscar Pistorius to be allowed into Olympic competition as he will not experience fatigue in his lower legs like the other athletes will do, this will give him an advantage over the other athletes.

Oscar Pistorius showing off his prosthetic limbs during one of his races
Fitness: Someone’s fitness or rather lack of fitness usually acts as a barrier to them in the sport of exercise they participate in. Someone’s lack of fitness can act as a barrier in their respective sport as it may not allow them to participate to their highest level or even a required level to play the sport or do exercise. A few examples of fitness problems which act as barriers to playing sport or doing exercise would be leg injuries for footballers, hand injuries for boxers and for most sports in general a lack of aerobic fitness. A real life example of someone’s fitness acting as a barrier to them in their sport would be Abou Diaby who is a professional football which experiences a lot of injuries and fails to keep his fitness at the required level in which to play professional football. A way in which this problem can be tackled would be the physios at his football club having a wide knowledge of how to treat his problems and then be able to maintain his fitness once the player reaches a level of fitness required to play professional football. The picture below shows all of the injuries which Diaby has suffered throughout his career and highlights his difficulty in getting fit to play football.

Resources: The lack of resources can act as a barrier in sports participation as some sports require necessary equipment in order to play the sport e.g. to play football you must have at least a football or to play tennis you at least require to rackets and a ball. If you do not have the necessary equipment then you cannot possibly compete in the sport. These barriers could apply to lots of people around the world; mainly people of poor backgrounds who cannot afford the resources, another group who may be affected by lack of resources would be lower level sports clubs who do not have the...
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