Persons are considered inactive if they fail to meet at least the minimum requirements for either of the two categories of physical activity. However these classifications have not failed to meet with objections and criticisms. Usually in assessing the rate of compliance to physical activity requirements researchers utilize classifications that are more or less similar to the descriptions for moderate to vigorous physical activity.
One major problem with such classifications is that they take into consideration only leisure time physical activity, commonly abbreviated LTPA (Pratt et al. , 1999). Thus other tasks that involve similar amounts of physical activity, but which are classed as leisure activities, are not taken into account. Some physically demanding occupational activities, for example, involve rates of physical activity that meet and may even exceed the minimum requirements. These persons may be classed as physically inactive if they do not participate in LTPA.
Thus it is possible that certain populations are being unfairly treated in discussions on compliance with physical activity requirements. One useful clarification that Henderson (1998) makes is that “Physical activity possesses the components of leisure when it is freely chosen and found enjoyable. ” Thus forced compliance is not an option and adherence to a physical activity regime may be less successful in such cases, including in the absence of enjoyment of the activity.
Fullagar (2003) also questions what qualifies as physical activity within the context of the Active Australia campaign, a campaign geared at increasing compliance to physical activity requirements in certain targeted populations. The campaign goes under the slogan ‘Exercise. You only have to take it regularly, not seriously. ’ Fullagar argues that this view of exercise gives the impression that it is fun-filled activity that is easily adjusted and fitted into the everyday schedules of persons.
However she questions the suggestion that physical activity can be so easily integrated into domestic and professional arrangements. As will be highlighted later, statistics are showing that women participate less in physical activity than men. To suggest that women and other targeted groups should dedicate separate time to integrate physical activity into their already hectic schedules is to ignore the various other ways that women particularly accomplish physical activity. Childbearing, as well as many other challenging roles, Thomsson (1999) argues, is an ‘invisible activity’ (as cited in Fullagar, 2003).