People with a chronic condition -such as spinal cord injury, stroke, cardiovascular disease, cerebral palsy- often have poor physical fitness and an unhealthy lifestyle. This may affect mobility, participation, quality of life, and health. Given the improved life expectancy, focus on health-related physical fitness and lifestyle in people with a chronic condition has become more and more important, but knowledge is often scarce.
To build on knowledge regarding health-related physical fitness and lifestyle, we perform research in several patient groups, both ambulatory and wheelchair-dependent. We focus on several constructs of health-related physical fitness -such as aerobic capacity, muscle strength, body composition- and on physical behaviour, nutrition, and sleep.
To understand the role of physical fitness and lifestyle in people with a chronic condition, we study associations with mobility, participation, quality of life, and health. To understand underlying mechanisms, we include parameters such as exercise self-efficacy, motivation, coping style, and social support.
To evaluate the (cost-)effectiveness of fitness programs and lifestyle interventions, we perform pragmatic (randomized) controlled trials, with focus on maintenance of effects.