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Perceptions of physical activity and walking in an early stage after stroke or acquired brain injury.

Journal article
Authors Karin Törnbom
Katharina Stibrant Sunnerhagen
Anna Danielsson
Published in PLoS ONE
Volume 12
Issue 3
Pages e0173463
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
University of Gothenburg Centre for person-centred care (GPCC)
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Pages e0173463
Language en
Subject categories Physiotherapy, Neurology


Physical activity has been established as being highly beneficial for health after stroke. There are considerable global efforts to find rehabilitation programs that encourage increased physical activity for persons with stroke. However, many persons with stroke or acquired brain injury do not reach recommended levels of physical activity and increased knowledge about why is needed. We aimed to explore views and experiences of physical activity and walking among persons with stroke or acquired brain injury.A qualitative study was conducted, among persons with stroke (n = 8) or acquired brain injury (n = 2) from a rehabilitation unit at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were held about perceptions and experiences of walking and physical activity in general. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis, with categories that were determined inductively.Physical activity in general and walking ability more specifically were considered very important by the participants. However, physical activity was, regardless of exercising habits pre-injury, associated with different kinds of negative feelings and experiences. Commonly reported internal barriers in the current study were; fatigue, fear of falling or getting hurt in traffic, lack of motivation and depression. Reported external barriers were mostly related to walking, for example; bad weather, uneven ground, lack of company or noisy or too busy surroundings.Persons with stroke or acquired brain injury found it difficult to engage in and sustain an eligible level of physical activity. Understanding individual concerns about motivators and barriers surrounding physical activity may facilitate the work of forming tailor-made rehabilitation for these groups, so that the levels of physical activity and walking can increase.

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