Barriers and facilitators to exercise among stroke survivors

Teresa M. Damush, Laurie Plue, Tamilyn Bakas, Arlene Schmid, Linda S. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

105 Scopus citations


Physical activity after stroke may prevent disability and stroke recurrence, yet, physical impairments may inhibit post-stroke exercise and subsequently limit recovery. The goal of this study was to elicit barriers to and facilitators of exercise after stroke. We conducted three focus groups and achieved content saturation from 13 stroke survivors - eight men and five women - 85% ofwhom were African American and 15% White, with a mean age of 59 years. We coded and analyzed the transcripts from the focus groups for common themes. Participants across groups reported three barriers (physical impairments from stroke, lack of motivation, and environmental factors) and three facilitators (motivation, social support, and planned activities to fill empty schedule) to exercise after stroke. Exercise activity can provide a purpose and structure to a stroke survivor's daily schedule, which may be interrupted after stroke. In addition, receiving social support from peers and providers, as well as offering stroke-specific exercise programming, may enhance physical activity of stroke survivors including those with disabilities. We intend to incorporate these findings into a post-stroke self-management exercise program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-260+262
JournalRehabilitation Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007


  • Exercise
  • Rehabilitation
  • Self-care
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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