Objective: The typically sedentary spinal cord injured population has limited physical activity options because of muscle paralysis, difficulties in transportation, and barriers to access rehabilitation/wellness facilities. It is important to investigate physical activity alternatives to increase physical activity levels and decrease the risk of inactivity-derived diseases. The goal of this study was to determine the effects of a home-based functional electrical stimulation cycling program on exercise adherence of those with spinal cord injury.
Design: Seventeen Veterans with posttraumatic C4–T11 American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale A–C spinal cord injury participated in two 8-wk exercise periods of home-based functional electrical stimulation lower extremity cycling. Exercise adherence and the effects of six factors thought to influence exercise adherence were studied during both exercise periods.
Results: Exercise adherence rates for exercise periods 1 and 2 were 71.7% and 62.9%, respectively. Age, history of exercise, and pain not associated with the exercise activity were determined to have significant impact on exercise adherence rates.
Conclusions: Exercise adherence rates were well above the reported 35% in the able-bodied population, which provides evidence for the feasibility of a home-based functional electrical stimulation lower extremity cycling program. Younger adults with a history of being physically active have the highest potential for exercise adherence.