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Given profound physical, psychosocial, and environmental barriers to physical activity (PA), people living with spinal cord injury (SCI) are less active than virtually every other segment of the population. Nevertheless, people with SCI are not universally “sedentary.” Many people with SCI live physically active lives, and behavioral interventions have proven effective at increasing and maintaining both PA and fitness. This paper discusses PA and inactivity in the SCI population and reviews the who, what, and how of effective SCI PA-enhancing interventions. The authors conclude with 3 recommendations for increasing PA in other low-active populations: Know your audience and the issues, develop audience-specific messages and tailored interventions, and use behavior-change theory to develop messages and interventions.
The authors are with the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, Canada, and the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Martin Ginis is also with the Dept. of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, and holds the Reichwald Family UBC Southern Medical Program Chair in Preventive Medicine.