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Spinal Cord. 2003 Aug;41(8):446-50.

Maintenance of exercise participation in individuals with spinal cord injury: effects on quality of life, stress and pain.

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Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.



Follow-up study of seven individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) who completed a 9-month randomized control trial (RCT) of exercise training.


In a 9-month RCT conducted in our lab, individuals with SCI who participated in a twice-weekly supervised exercise training reported greater perceived quality of life (PQOL), and less stress and pain than a nonexercising control cohort. The present follow-up study examined the voluntary continuation of exercise training after the study ended and the persistence of the accrued psychosocial benefits.


Centre for Health Promotion and Rehabilitation, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Five men and two women (age 42.3+/-3.6 years) with SCI (C5-T12; ASIA A-D 12.7+/-8.2 years postinjury) were invited to continue supervised exercise training twice weekly at the completion of the 9-month RCT. Exercise adherence, PQOL, stress and bodily pain were measured at a 3-month follow-up and were compared to values obtained at baseline, and at 3, 6 and 9 months during the intervention.


There was a significant decrease in adherence at the 3-month follow-up compared to the overall 9-month adherence rate (42.7 versus 80.6%, respectively; P<0.01). There was also a significant decrease in PQOL (P<0.05) and a trend for increased pain (P=0.07) and stress (P=0.12), at follow-up compared to the end of the 9-month trial. Finally, there was a significant negative correlation between pain at the conclusion of the RCT and exercise adherence over the 3-month follow-up period (r=-0.91; P<0.01).


These findings emphasize the importance of continued exercise adherence to the maintenance of exercise-related increases in psychological well-being among individuals with SCI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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