Focus on Secondary Condition Prevention: Using Evidence-Based Physical Activity Guidelines to Reduce Secondary Conditions in People with Spinal Cord Injury
|Jennifer Rowland, Ph.D.|
In a recent article by Martin Ginis et al. (2007) in the journal Spinal Cord, researchers describe their Study of Health and Activity in People with Spinal Cord Injury (SHAPE SCI) that examines physical activity in people with different levels and completeness of spinal cord injury (SCI), investigates relationships between physical activity and the risk or presence of secondary health conditions, and identifies factors that determine physical activity levels in people with SCI.
In the SHAPE SCI study, 720 men and women with traumatic SCI who were 18 years and older and had been injured for at least one year completed self-report measures of physical activity (i.e., type, frequency, duration, and intensity of physical activity performed over the past 3 days), physical activity determinants (i.e., pre-injury activity levels, social support, neighborhood environment), secondary health problems (i.e., fatigue, pressure sores, pain, overweight), and subjective well-being (i.e., life satisfaction, motor functional independence).Among the leisure time physical activities examined:
- Resistance Training: lifting weights, resistance band exercises;
- Cardiovascular Exercise: arm or leg ergometry; body-weight supported treadmill training; wheeling; aerobics; pool walking; functional electrical stimulation;
- Sports Participation: basketball; rugby; sled hockey; volleyball; snow skiing; billiards; bowling; water skiing;
- Play: playing with children; playing with pets; playing catch;
- Hobbies: gardening; woodworking
Researchers are in the process of examining these data to determine:
- the types and amounts of activity that are most likely to improve physical and psychological well-being;
- identifying factors within the person (i.e., attitudes) and the environment (i.e., social support, accessible fitness facilities); and
- using these data to develop evidence-based exercise prescriptions.
Lack of physical activity has been linked to secondary conditions for people with disabilities such as obesity, pressure sores, chronic pain, and depression as well as chronic conditions that include heart disease and diabetes (Heath & Fentem, 1997). Therefore, establishing clear guidelines to reduce and prevent these conditions is an essential part of establishing and maintaining effective health promotion programs. This study represents an important step toward establishing evidence-based physical activity guidelines for people with SCI.
Heath, GW & Fentem, PH (1997). Physical activity among persons with disabilities a public health perspective. Exerc Sport Sci Rev, 25, 195-234.
Latimer, AE, Martin Ginis, KA, Craven, BC, & Hicks, AL. (2006). The physical activity recall assessment for people with spinal cord injury: validity. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 38, 208-216.
Martin Ginis, KA & Hicks, AL (2005). Exercise research issues in the spinal cord injured population. Exerc Sport Sci Rev, 33, 49-53.
Martin Ginis, KA, Latimer, AE, Buchholz, AC, Bray, SR, Craven, BC, Hayes, KC, Hicks, AL, McColl, MA, Potter, PJ, Smith, K, & Wolfe, DL. (2007). Establishing evidence-based physical activity guidelines: Methods for the Study of Health and Activity in People with Spinal Cord Injury (SHAPE SCI). Spinal Cord, 1-6.
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