Barriers and facilitators to attending and being physically active during recreation time among women incarcerated

Ricky Camplain, Heather J. Williamson, Travis A. Pinn, Sara Shuman, Bethany M. Robinson, Maribeth Evans, Crystal Luna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Most women incarcerated in jail are not physically active and do not attend recreation time (rec-time), a time dedicated to being physically active, outside. The purpose of this study was to determine barriers and facilitators to attending and being physically active during rec-time among women incarcerated in jail. Methods: We recruited and distributed a cross-sectional questionnaire to 100 women incarcerated at the Coconino County Detention Facility (CCDF) in Flagstaff, Arizona from March to July 2020. Women were asked about their experience with rec-time at CCDF, including if they had ever attended, how often they attended, if they exercised at rec-time, activities they participated in, and facilitators, barriers, and benefits to attend rec-time. Results: Among 99 women who completed the questionnaire, 89% had ever attended rec-time. Most women identified environmental- and health-related facilitators to attending rec-time including enjoying natural light (74%), getting fresh air (83%), a change in environment (62%), and to move around and exercise (72%). Many women indicated environmental-, equipment-, clothing, and motivation-related barriers to attending rec-time. Specifically, women believed there was a lack of equipment (56%) and limited access to proper footwear (49%). Conclusions: As health and environment are important facilitators and barriers to being physically active among women incarcerated in jail, it is important to identify appropriate environmental and policy interventions to increase the use of rec-time and physical activity. If a correctional facility does not offer rec-time or a similar alternative, one should be established, accessible, and welcoming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number239
JournalBMC Women's Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Criminal justice and health
  • Incarceration
  • Jail
  • Physical activity
  • Questionnaire
  • Women’s health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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