In considering a strategy for research development at the National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics, the importance of making accessibility and involvement in sport to those athletically inclined has become apparent. Preparation for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow highlights a need to champion sport for people with lower limb deficiency and empower those who might never have participated to become involved (Gold & Gold, 2007). We are all athletes in our own way; each individual has the right to fulfil their exercise potential. The White Paper on Sport (2007) by the Commission of European Communities stated that 'Sport has a greater influence than any social movement as a tool for health enhancing physical activity'. Importantly, the UK population with limb deficiency is predominantly elderly and has a sedentary lifestyle (Davies and Datta, 2003). Although there has been an increase in opportunities for these people to participate in sports due to better prosthetic components, the number of sports prostheses users remain relatively low. This appears to be linked to limited skills specific to disability sport within the rehabilitation and sports professional communities. The objective was to investigate the motivations and barriers to participation in physical activity and sports in a group of people with lower limb deficiency. A review was carried out by examining literature from a number of different sources. Articles were limited to those written in, or translated into English, and which focused on established users of lower limb prostheses. In future, the review will underpin ongoing doctoral research into how exercise and sport participation can be increased for our patients and how exercise concepts and knowledge can be enhanced in the undergraduate curriculum and professional communities. The work examines the motivations and barriers to exercise within the normal population, and how these issues might be compounded within the prostheses user population. The work also examines the type of psychological benefit the user can derive from physical activity and how patients can be encouraged to implement a healthy lifestyle change. In conclusion and because of its dynamic nature, increasing physical activity in all populations is challenging. The challenges of lower limb loss can seem insurmountable when compounded by an alteration in body image. Factors such as self-efficacy, social support, and perceived health benefits are all mutable and show potential for an increase in the chance of individual behaviour change in people with lower limb amputation. Integrating an achievable, realistic exercise regime into hospital based rehabilitation and importantly continuing this into community based sports initiatives for people with limb loss would capitalise on the clear relationship between physical activity and improved health and well-being.
|Publication status||Published - 9 Oct 2009|