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Authors Anna Danielsson
Karin Törnbom
Published in 20th European Congress of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Estoril Portugal 23-28 April 2016
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Language en
Keywords stroke, physical activity
Subject categories Physiotherapy


Introduction Physical activity after stroke promotes neuroplasticity, physical functions, daily activities, health and well-being. People with stroke are shown to be less active than healthy controls which is a risk for decline in function as well as getting a new cardiovascular event. To improve guidance further knowledge regarding attitudes and factors significant for physical activity is needed. Purpose To explore participants’ experiences of physical activity after stroke or other brain injury. Method Ten semi structured interviews were analysed, using qualitative content analysis. Interviews were read several times by the authors and a coding scheme based on key concepts related to the research questions was developed. All codes retrieved from the interviews were grouped into categories. To catch the latent meaning, categories were formulated into themes. Three woman and seven men with a median age of 51 years undergoing rehabilitation after stroke (n=7) or other brain injury (n=3) were interviewed. Results Three themes were identified: 1.The participants had mixed experiences and views on the significance of physical activity prior to injury. 2. After injury they experienced a new situation and saw exercise as a duty. Physical activity after injury was limited to short walks a few times a week. 3.Factors of importance for executing physical activity: Advice and support from a physiotherapist or other professionals were highlighted as very important. Support from significant others, fellow patients and to see progression towards set goals contributed as motivating factors. Physical and mental factors, especially balance and walking impairments as well as fatigue and lack of motivation were perceived as hindering. Discussion and Conclusions After injury, physical activity was perceived as filled with demands, a necessary evil to achieve as good function as possible. Dependence on security in the training situation, support and push from professionals and relatives were evident.

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