Maintaining regular physical activity (PA) can be challenging for persons with late effects of polio. This qualitative study of ambulatory persons with late effects of polio explored their perceptions of PA, as well as facilitators of and barriers to PA. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 15 persons and analyzed with content analysis using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) as a framework. The participants described positive perceptions of PA and its health benefits. PA was used to prevent further decline in functioning, and the type and frequency of activities had changed over time. Past experiences and personal characteristics impacted PA. Support from close relatives, knowledgeable health care professionals, mobility devices, and accessible environments facilitated PA, whereas impairments, inaccessible environments, and cold weather were the main barriers. To perform PA regularly, persons with late effects of polio may benefit from individualized advice based on their disability and personal and environmental factors.
Winberg, Carlsson, Brogårdh, and Lexell are with the Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden. Brogårdh and Lexell are also with the Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine, Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.