Physical Activity Correlates and Determinants for Persons with Spinal Cord Injury: Limitations and Future Directions*, pp. 593-610
Authors: Kelly P. Arbour-Nicitopoulos and Kathleen A. Martin Ginis
Abstract: The combination of sedentary lifestyles and increased risk of secondary complications have directed research efforts towards promoting healthy living, specifically physical activity, among persons with spinal cord injury (SCI; Devillard et al., 2007; Hicks et al., 2003; Martin Ginis & Hicks, 2007). However, there is currently a limited understanding of how to increase the physical activity levels of persons with SCI in order for the health benefits of physical activity participation to be accrued. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the factors that are common to understanding and predicting physical activity in persons with and without SCI, as well as other factors that are unique to persons with SCI. Findings from cross-sectional and, where available, prospective studies will be discussed. Study limitations are addressed, such as inappropriate operational definitions of physical activity and the limited focus on theory-driven research. The chapter also highlights the emerging research on environmental factors, in particular the physical environment, to the promotion of physical activity, and discusses the need for examining the role of the physical environment on physical activity participation in persons with SCI. Together, the findings from this chapter provide a greater understanding of the factors that are specific to understanding and predicting physical activity in persons with SCI so that these variables can be targeted in activity-enhancing interventions. More importantly, these results can be used to improve the prognosis of living with an SCI with respect to quality of life and community integration.