Underlying mechanisms of improving physical activity behavior after rehabilitation

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Abstract

Background:

Regular physical activity is beneficial for the health and functioning of people with a disability. Effective components of successful physical activity promotion interventions should be identified and disseminated.

Purpose:

To study the underlying mechanisms of the combined sport stimulation program “Rehabilitation & Sports” (R&S) and daily physical activity promotion program “Active after Rehabilitation” (AaR). Method: Subjects in four rehabilitation centers received R&S + AaR (n = 284). Subjects in six control centers (n = 603) received usual care. Physical activity and its determinants were assessed with questionnaires at seven weeks before and nine weeks and one year after rehabilitation.

Results:

Variables that were determinants of the intervention-induced improvement in physical activity behavior at both follow-up measurements were attitude, the perceived benefits “improved health and reduced risk of disease,” “better feeling about oneself,” and “ improved fitness,” and the barrier “limited environmental possibilities.” The percentage change in the intervention coefficient caused by these determinants ranged from -35.3% to -16.3% and from -28.4% to -11.3% at nine weeks and one year after rehabilitation, respectively.

Conclusion:

Personalized tailored counseling interventions can improve physical activity behavior in people with a disability by targeting both personal and environmental determinants of physical activity behavior.

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