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Assist Technol. 2013 Winter;25(4):181-93.

Effectiveness of an upper extremity exercise device and text message reminders to exercise in adults with spina bifida: a pilot study.


Obesity, deconditioning, cognitive impairment, and poor exercise tolerance are health issues concerning adults with spina bifida (SB). Our aim is to describe exercise participation and identify motivating tactics and exercise devices that increase participation. In a quasi-experimental randomized crossover design, the GameCycle was compared to a Saratoga Silver I arm ergometer. Personalized free or low-cost text/voice message reminders to exercise were sent. Nineteen young adults with SB were assigned to either the GameCycle or Saratoga exercise group. Within each group, participants were randomized to receive reminders to exercise, or no reminders, then crossed over to the opposite message group after eight weeks. Before and after a 16-week exercise program anthropometric, metabolic, exercise testing and questionnaire data, and recorded participation were collected. Miles traveled by the GameCycle group were significantly higher than the Saratoga exercise groups. No significant differences were found in participation between the message reminder groups. Low participation rates were seen overall. Those using the GameCycle traveled more miles. Barriers to exercise participation may have superseded ability to motivate adults with SB to exercise even with electronic reminders. Support from therapists to combat deconditioning and develop coping skills may be needed.

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