Individuals with SCI are 1.5 times more likely to be sedentary compared to adults without disabilities or chronic health conditions. It is therefore imperative to develop and evaluate innovative facilitation strategies for physical activity behavior in this population.


As an insightful step to creating and evaluating tailored physical activity interventions for individuals with SCI, we evaluated demographic, psychosocial, and physical characteristics of those who choose to engage in physical activity by enrolling in a group exercise study.


We conducted a cross-sectional analysis detailing demographic features and baseline outcomes of those with SCI enrolled in a group tele-exercise study who were classified as regular exercisers versus nonregular exercisers per the American College of Sports Medicine exercise guidelines. Between-group differences for psychosocial and physical outcomes were assessed with chi-square and Mann-Whitney U tests (p < .05).


Twenty-seven adult volunteers enrolled in the study (exercisers = 14, nonexercisers = 13). Groups were comparable for biological sex, gender identity, self-reported racial group(s), and current age. Exercisers demonstrated significantly shorter duration of injury compared to nonexercisers (p = .012). Exercisers exhibited significantly higher exercise self-efficacy (p = .017) and increased reported weekly minutes in vigorous intensity leisure time physical activity (p = .029).


Nonexercisers with SCI demonstrate increased injury duration and reduced exercise self-efficacy compared to active peers. These factors should be addressed in the design and delivery of SCI-specific physical activity interventions to increase the likelihood of this critical health behavior over time.

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