Objectives: To estimate the number of minutes a day of leisure time physical activity (LTPA) performed by people with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) and to identify the demographic and injury-related characteristics associated with LTPA in a population-based sample of people with chronic SCI.
Design: Cross-sectional telephone survey.
Setting: General community.
Participants: Men and women with SCI (N=695).
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measures: The number of minutes/day of LTPA performed at a mild intensity or greater.
Results: Respondents reported mean minutes +/- SD of 27.14+/-49.36 of LTPA/d; however, 50% reported no LTPA whatsoever. In a multiple regression analysis, sex, age, years postinjury, injury severity, and primary mode of mobility each emerged as a unique predictor of LTPA. Multiple correspondence analysis indicated that being a man over the age of 34 years and greater than 11 years postinjury was associated with inactivity, while being a manual wheelchair user and having motor complete paraplegia were associated with the highest level of daily LTPA.
Conclusions: Daily LTPA levels are generally low in people with SCI. Women, older adults, people with less recent injuries, people with more severe injuries, and users of power wheelchairs and gait aids are general subgroups that may require special attention and resources to overcome unique barriers to LTPA. Specific subgroups may also require targeted interventions.