Symposium on ‘Understanding and promoting physical activity of people with physical disabilities’ well attended

The SDHI Mini-Symposium “Understanding and promoting physical activity of people with physical disabilities” was held 30 April, 2012 at the University of Dundee and featured six presentations on the topics of barriers, facilitators, psychosocial, and environmental factors in physical activity engagement, and the role of technology to motivate and sustain physical activity behaviour in people with physical disabilities. Several key themes emerged from the presentations and subsequent discussion period: 1) Discussion of the role of rehabilitation professionals in promoting long-term community-based and home-based physical activity behaviour beyond their clinical care duties; 2) Challenging the assumption that physical activity needs to be at a vigorous level to be beneficial; 3) Examination of internal (motivation, self-efficacy) and external (built and social environment) barriers to physical activity participation within the context of personal and environmental factors; 4) Exploration of individualised tailored approaches for physical activity promotion to address these barriers; 5) Consideration of technology as a way of initiating and sustaining long-term physical activity behaviours in youth and adults with physical disabilities. Presenters represented three universities in Scotland (Universities of Dundee and St Andrews, University of Glasgow) and two in the United States (University of Illinois at Chicago; Washington University in St Louis, Missouri). Other participants from various rehabilitation teams and health boards in the NHS, the Centre for Medical Education at the University of Dundee and the Free University of Brussels in Belgium joined the discussions. A successful ‘experiment’ was the web link to presenters and participants in the United States and Belgium who joined remotely. We will provide even more information about the event soon. Stay tuned!

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