Understanding physical activity in spinal cord injury rehabilitation: translating and communicating research through stories Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • PURPOSE: The purpose of this article is to develop an evidence-based resource for knowing and communicating the complexities involved for both males and females in implementing and sustaining a physically active lifestyle shortly after spinal cord injury (SCI). METHODS: Synthesizing a set of qualitative and quantitative studies with over 500 spinal cord injured people, the article represents research utilizing the genre of ethnographic creative non-fiction. This genre of representation holds enormous potential for researchers in terms of disseminating their findings to diverse audiences beyond the academy, and having real impact. RESULTS: The ethnographic creative non-fictions show together for the first time the barriers, determinants, benefits, trajectories, emotions, fears, preferred methods and messengers for delivering important physical activity information to men and women with a SCI. CONCLUSION: The article contributes to knowledge by showing the embodied complexities involved when in rehabilitation for both males and females in implementing and sustaining a physically active lifestyle shortly after SCI. It also makes a contribution to practice by providing researchers, health care professionals and disability user-groups with a theory and evidence based resource to assist in informing, teaching and enabling people living with SCI to initiate and maintain a physically active lifestyle. Stories may be a highly effective tool to communicate with and to influence spinal cord injured people's activity. IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION: The findings of this research showed the many benefits and barriers to developing and sustaining a physically active lifestyle shortly after spinal cord injury. The preferred methods and messengers for delivering physical activity information as well as the activity types, intensities and durations of physical activity for men and women were also shown. Within rehabilitation, spinal cord injured people need to be offered accessible knowledge about how to implement and sustain a physically active lifestyle over the life course. Stories may serve as a unique and powerful means to achieve this.

publication date

  • December 2013