Background: Participation in daily physical activity (PA) post-stroke has not previously been investigated as a possible explanatory variable of health-related quality of life (HRQL). The aims were 1) to determine the contribution of daily PA to the HRQL of individuals with chronic stroke and 2) to assess the relationship between the functional ability of these individuals to the amount of daily PA.
Methods: The amount of daily PA of forty adults with chronic stroke (mean age 66.5 +/- 9.6 years) was monitored using two measures. Accelerometers (Actical) were worn on the hip for three consecutive days in conjunction with a self-report questionnaire [the PA Scale for Individuals with Physical Disabilities (PASIPD)]. The daily physical activity was measured as the mean total accelerometer activity counts/day and the PASIPD scores as the metabolic equivalent (MET) hr/day. HRQL was assessed by the Physical and Mental composite scores of the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 36 (SF-36) in addition to the functional ability of the participants. Correlation and regression analyses were performed.
Results: After controlling for the severity of the motor impairment, the amount of daily PA, as assessed by the PASIPD and accelerometers, was found to independently contribute to 10-12% of the variance of the Physical Composite Score of the SF-36. No significant relationship was found between PA and the Mental Composite Score of the SF-36.The functional ability of the participants was found to be correlated to the amount of daily PA (r = 0.33 - 0.67, p < 0.01).
Conclusion: The results suggest that daily PA is associated with better HRQL (as assessed by the Physical composite score of the SF-36) for people living with stroke. Daily PA should be encouraged to potentially increase HRQL. Accelerometers in conjunction with a self-report questionnaire may provide important measures of PA which can be monitored and modified, and potentially influence HRQL.