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Improving Adherence to Exercise Guidelines Using Smartphone-Based Technology and E-coaching: A Proof-of-Concept SMART-Design Study



Regular exercise by persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) can significantly improve cardiorespiratory fitness, power output, and muscle strength, and reduce risk factors for cardiometabolic disease (e.g., heart disease, diabetes), osteoporosis, and depression. This study will address deficiencies in exercise levels and compliance among those with SCI by investigating the effect of an individualize, and adaptive app-based exercise program on (1) adherence to exercise guidelines by community-dwelling adults with SCI and (2) on improving health and functional outcomes categorized by the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) model.

Subject Population


  • Diagnosis of spinal cord injury (paraplegia or incomplete tetraplegia at the C5-C6 level and below)
  • 18-80 years of age
  • English-speaking
  • Use a wheelchair as primary means of mobility or walks (with or without assistive equipment)
  • At least 1-year post-spinal cord injury
  • Not adhering to spinal cord injury-specific exercise guidelines
  • Interested in increasing exercise levels
  • Ownership of a smartphone that can be used for the study and has a data plan
  • Willing to download the study apps

Study Personnel

Funding Source


National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)

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