The Effects of Adaptive Sea Kayaking on Seated Balance and Exercise Self-Efficacy Among Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury

In this study, researchers are interested in determining how participating in an adaptive sea kayak program may improve functional and perceived ability to complete balance related activities, including tasks of daily living and physical activity, for those with spinal cord injury (SCI).  The team are recruiting individuals with SCI that are participating in the BC Mobility Opportunities Society (BCMOS) Paddle Program; the goal is to recruit participants who intend to complete at least 10 sessions of sea kayak paddling over a 12 week period. In order to participate, individuals must 1) present with a chronic, complete or partial SCI that was due to either a traumatic or non-traumatic injury; 2) be able to kayak independently for at least with one minute without rest, and be able to paddle for 1 hour with rests as needed; 3) are over 18 years of age; 4) speak and understand English.

Pre- and post the kayak program, static and dynamic seated balance will be assessed by having participants sit on an elevated forceplate. Static balance is assessed with by having a participant sit as still as possible on the forceplate with their eyes open and closed, while dynamic balance is assessed by having them lean as far as possible in the 8 cardinal directions without losing their balance. The Modified Functional Reach Test and T-Shirt Test will also be used to assess functional balance. Exercise self-efficacy and independence will be evaluated by the Exercise Self Efficacy Scale and Spinal Cord Independence Measure. Finally, during the post-assessment, a semi-structured interview will be conducted to explore changes in confidence and perceived ability to perform seated balance tasks, exercise,  and broader activities of daily living.

Project Goal:

Previous work has already shown that exercise interventions can be effective in improving seated balance for those with SCI, even those classified as high-thoracic or cervical motor-complete. The goal of this project is to determine if sea kayaking may similarily improve balance in addition to impact exercise self-efficacy and overall confidence in conducting activities of daily living. 

Interested in taking park in this study? Contact Alison Williams @

Research Theme(s)

Traumatic Injury

Cluster Researchers