Seasonal variations in outdoor activities in adults with spasticity

Sachindri Wijekoon, Kim-Minh Tran-Nguyen, Farooq Ismail, Chris Boulias, Chetan Purushottam Phadke


Background: Spasticity can worsen in winter and result in additional functional impairment. Objective: This study examined the perceived differences in, and barriers to duration and types of outdoor activities performed in winter and summer in adults with spasticity. Methods: Thirty adults with spasticity completed a phone questionnaire, which explored the types and durations of outdoor activities between summer and winter. Data were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. Results: Time spent outdoors was four times greater in summer (p<0.01) with participants reporting spending an average of 227 minutes/day, compared to 62 minutes/day in winter. Duration of life-enhancing activities in winter was reduced. The amount of time spent outdoors in winter was negatively correlated with upper extremity spasticity (r=-0.39, p<0.05). Furthermore, social, structural, and service barriers reduced the duration of outdoor activities regardless of season. Conclusions: Particular emphasis should be placed on management of spasticity, education, and advocacy for individuals with spasticity to enhance outdoor activity engagement during the winter.


muscle spasticity, cold temperature, hot temperature, activities of daily living, leisure activities, seasonal variation

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