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.
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.
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.
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.
From the Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders Center, McGuire VAMC, Richmond, Virginia (DRD, ASG, JRM, LAH, DRG); and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (DRD, ASG, DRG) and Department of Biostatistics (JMK), Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.
All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to: David R. Dolbow, PhD, DPT, Hunter Holmes McGuire Medical Center, Spinal Cord Injury & Disorders Service, 1201 Broad Rock Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23249.
Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.