Physical activity promotion to people with spinal cord injury by health and exercise professionals: A scoping review


Health and exercise professionals (HEPs) are ideal promoters and valued messengers of physical activity (PA) information among people with spinal cord injury (SCI). However, little is known about what strategies HEPs should use to increase PA behaviour of, or what facilitators or barriers HEPs face when promoting PA to, people with SCI. The purposes of this scoping review were to 1) ascertain the extent, range and nature of the literature, 2) identify the strategies targeted and/or strategies used by HEPs that are associated with an increase in PA behaviour for people with SCI, 3) identify the facilitators and barriers to PA promotion by the HEPs, and 4) identify what study authors' suggestions for future research and practice. In line with scoping review methodology, a comprehensive search of key databases was undertaken following an established guideline. Within the 19 included articles, HEPs predominantly consisted of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and leisure trainers/therapists. Most interventions were delivered by HEPs to people with SCI in in-patient rehabilitation centres and community-based settings. Tailored exercise programs and on-going counselling support were considered essential for increasing PA motivation, self-efficacy, and behaviour. HEPs' common barriers to PA promotion were perceived lack of time, education, and training. A need to improve and sustain SCI-specific PA knowledge and education was identified if PA promotion is to become a structured and integral component of practice. This study provides valuable information for the design of interventions to increase PA behaviour among people with SCI by improving PA promotion by HEPs.