Background In spite of the numerous benefits of exercise, only 25% of Americans are physically active. One obstacle to elevating physical activity levels among sedentary individuals is poor adherence to exercise interventions. Exercise participation in the disabled population is even less as these populations face additional barriers to exercise. The factors that predict exercise adherence and physical activity participation in the MS and other disabled populations are not well documented. We hypothesized that historical leisure activity would influence exercise levels of MS subjects after starting a home exercise program.
Study Design and Methods Exercise levels in MS subjects starting a home exercise program were collected from a 5-year study, The Effects of Exercise on Preserving Function and Participation in MS. To determine past exercise activity, we administered the Historical Leisure Activity questionnaire. We assessed any associations between historical leisure activity and change in exercise levels following the start of the exercise program.
Results Subjects with moderate to high levels of past exercise history had greater variation in exercise levels during the exercise program than subjects with low levels of past exercise history.
Conclusion Greater levels of past exercise history may afford skills to change exercise behavior, but the observation that no subject maintained increased exercise levels demonstrates that exercise behavior is difficult to change.
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