Lifestyle physical activity for individuals with spinal cord injury: a pilot study.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of a lifestyle physical activity program for people with spinal cord injury (SCI).

METHODS: Sixteen nonexercising adult volunteers with SCI participated in a single group pre-post-test of the “Be Active in Life Program” comprising stage-matched educational materials, home visit by a nurse, construction of a personal plan to increase activity, and four follow-up phone calls. Program acceptability, stage of change, barriers to health-promoting activities, abilities for health practices, health, depression, and muscle strength were rated. Physical activity was monitored using actigraphy and a self-report record.

RESULTS: Participants rated the program positively, although some preferred a structured exercise approach. Eighty-one percent of participants progressed in stage of change and 60% increased physical activity. There were significant changes in motivational barriers, exercise self-efficacy, self-rated health, and muscle strength. DISCUSSION: Lifestyle physical activity is feasible and acceptable and could be effective in promoting greater physical activity among people with SCI.