Research News Flash
Physical activity levels are low among persons with spinal cord injury. In order to increase physical activity levels, it is important to understand what barriers are preventing participation. The primary purpose of this study was to identify the most common exercise barriers, as well as which specifically decreased the likelihood of a person with spinal cord injury exercising (i.e. impact).
A total of 180 participants (63 percent men, 37 percent women) representing various degrees of spinal cord injury (56 percent paraplegia, 44 percent tetraplegia) completed a web-based survey on exercise barriers. Participants were additionally categorized as either “exercisers” or “non-exercisers.” Fourteen exercise barriers were evaluated. The five most common barriers were lack of energy, lack of motivation, lack of time, lack of knowledge on where to exercise, and cost of program. However, the five most common barriers were not among the five which most strongly decreased the likelihood of a person exercising.
The five most impactful barriers were very uncommon and included believing exercise would make a condition worse, being too lazy to exercise, believing exercise was too difficult, not knowing how to exercise, and lack of interest. However, three of the most common barriers did decrease the likelihood that a person was exercising: not knowing where to exercise, lack of motivation, and program cost. The authors recommended focusing intervention efforts on removing barriers in the forms of lack of knowledge and program cost, since these barriers were very common, affected the likelihood a person would not be exercising, and could be more easily addressed than lack of motivation.
Cowan, R. E., Nash, M. S., Anderson, K. D. (2013). Exercise participation barrier prevalence and association with exercise participation status in individuals with spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord, 51(1), 27-32.