The 5 A’s To Improving Access to Physical Activity

Active SWV Works to Remove Barriers to Living an Active Lifestyle

What’s standing in your way?

You can improve your path to a successful active lifestyle by assessing the barriers you face on a daily level. This assessment can also be applied to family and friends whom you wish could experience an improved quality of life with you. Then explore the Active SWV programs to meet your interests.

The 5 A’s to improving access were developed more than 20 years ago by Penchansky and Thomas (1981) who published an article titled “The Concept of Access: Definition and Relationship to Consumer Satisfaction.” These five topics are used to refer to the health care system but also relate to community health. The 5 A’s are interrelated and must all be considered when seeking to improve the overall access of a participant to a program


1. Affordability

The costs and some times the perceived costs of healthy living can keep you from starting an activity. Gym memberships, fitness equipment, exercise clothing, running shoes can all add up, but the programs with Active SWV are free and all equipment is provided. We also share tips on how to dress for outdoor programming and you might be surprised what is already in your closet. If you have children who need shoes, please reach out to the United Way of Southern West Virginia’s Equal Footing Shoe Fund.

2. Availability

We all have busy lives and a lot of families are dashing to school, work, and helping to take care of other family members. The lack of time can be a large barrier to attending a new program. This is where you need to make physical activity a priority and set dates in advance for attending programs. The Active SWV Community Captain programs are offered within small communities and at times after school and work hours. View the January calendar here.

3. Accessibility

In addition to locating programs within small communities throughout Nicholas, Fayette, Raleigh, and Summers Counties, Active SWV also trains volunteer Community Captains and volunteer Kids Run Club coaches to present programs at a beginner level and with instruction. This welcoming approach helps to remove the barrier of skill and knowledge of a particular activity. Some view an activity as “not for them” because it is a higher perceived skill and/or requires equipment. Remove this barrier by incorporating Active SWV programs into your family’s schedule.

4. Accommodation

Accommodating the needs of participants is why Active SWV fosters volunteer Community Captains to lead each program. It is a peer-to-peer approach where program leaders can relate and are sympathetic to the challenges people from southern West Virginia face on a daily and weekly basis. This role of being an Active SWV Community Captain or Kids Run Club coach is open to new volunteers at all times. You can improve your health, make programming a priority, and include your family all by volunteering with Active SWV. Learn more about becoming a volunteer in 2019 here.

5. Acceptability

So you get started, you nervously attend your first program, and discover this larger network of fun, welcoming, non-judgmental people are excited to have you participating. This network will continue to welcome you to programs and be the social support needed to stick with a routine. (They also understand with schedules get hectic and you come and go from programming). Active SWV programs reach across communities, schools, and workplaces. You may find multiple ways to incorporate Active SWV into your life for improved health and quality of life.

Identify Your Barriers

Give the 5 A’s some thought. Write down your barriers and then list how you can work around those challenges with the suggestions provided above. Click over to the most recent monthly program flier and share the activities with your family, friends, and co-workers. We are excited to have you try an Active SWV program with us!

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