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Pedometer use and self-determined motivation for walking in a cardiac telerehabilitation program: a qualitative study

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  • Charlotte Brun Thorup, Aalborg Universitet, Danmark
  • Mette Grønkjær, Aalborg Universitet, Danmark
  • Helle Spindler
  • Jan Jesper Andreasen, Aalborg Universitet
  • ,
  • John Hansen, Aalborg Universitet, Danmark
  • Birthe Irene Dinesen, Aalborg Universitet, Danmark
  • Gitte Nielsen, Sygehus Vendsyssel, Danmark
  • Erik Elgaard Sørensen, Aalborg Universitet

BACKGROUND: Exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation reduces morbidity and mortality. Walking is a convenient activity suitable for people with cardiac disease. Pedometers count steps, measure walking activity and motivate people to increase physical activity. In this study, patients participating in cardiac telerehabilitation were provided with a pedometer to support motivation for physical activity with the purpose of exploring pedometer use and self-determined motivation for walking experienced by patients and health professionals during a cardiac telerehabilitation program.

METHODS: A qualitative research design consisting of observations, individual interviews and patient documents made the basis for a content analysis. Data was analysed deductively using Self Determination Theory as a frame for analysis and discussion, focusing on the psychological needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness. Twelve cardiac patients, 11 health professionals, 6 physiotherapists and 5 registered nurses were included.

RESULTS: The pedometer offered independence from standardised rehabilitation since the pedometer supported tailoring, individualised walking activity based on the patient's choice. This led to an increased autonomy. The patients felt consciously aware of health benefits of walking, and the pedometer provided feedback on walking activity leading to an increased competence to achieve goals for steps. Finally, the pedometer supported relatedness with others. The health professionals' surveillance of patients' steps, made the patients feel observed, yet supported, furthermore, their next of kin appeared to be supportive as walking partners.

CONCLUSION: Cardiac patients' motivation for walking was evident due to pedometer use. Even though not all aspects of motivation were autonomous and self determined, the patients felt motivated for walking. The visible steps and continuous monitoring of own walking activity made it possible for each individual patient to choose their desired kind of activity and perform ongoing adjustments of walking activity. The immediate feedback on step activity and the expectations of health benefits resulted in motivation for walking. Finally, pedometer supported walking made surveillance possible, giving the patients a feeling of being looked after and supported.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current study is a part of The Teledi@log project.

TidsskriftBMC sports science, medicine and rehabilitation
StatusUdgivet - 2016

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