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.

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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 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. o 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 money to acquire and maintain their resources.

An initiative which is put in place to aid lower level football clubs is the availably of funds by the FA (Football Association) available to lower level football facilities which the facilities can apply for and receive financial help from the FA in order to improve their facilities more and promote football activity in that facility, especially for the younger generations.

The influences which this chosen cultural influence has on sports would be the amount of issues there are in sport surrounding racial hatred and discrimination. This group of people tends to participate in most sports these days but the sport black people for example would tend to participate in would be sports which require explosive speed and power and also height. Sports which require these things may include sprinting events such as 100m, basketball and boxing as these sports require a balance of speed, power and height.

The reason black people participate in these sorts of sports is because they are genetically superior to most other humans with a different ethnic background in general at the specific sports. This may influence decisions in sports participation as other people of different ethnic backgrounds may become intimidated by the large amount of black people taking part in whatever sport they are participating in. People may not think they have much chance in their sport if they come up against a large amount of black people who are known for being superior at whatever sport they are participating in.

An example of this cultural influence would be the clear lack of white people who participate in basketball. This lack of white people partaking in basketball activities is a mixture of them not just being physically inferior when it comes to the sport of basketball but they are also I think intimidated by the large number of black people and small number of white people in the NBA, this leaves them doubting their abilities and chances of making it in basketball which makes them not want to play them sport.

The table below shows the stats of African compared to Caucasian people who take part in some NBA teams, there is a clear difference in the number of African people compared to Caucasians.


  1. http://www. thefa. com/my-football/football-volunteers/runningaclub/yourfacilities/funding Ethnic Origin: Ethnic origin is a clear cultural influence on sports participation.

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Barriers and Cultural Influences on Sport and Exercise Participation. (2016, Sep 30). Retrieved from