1. Sammut, Maria MClinEpid, MPH
  2. Haracz, Kirsti PhD
  3. Shakespeare, David BPhysio
  4. English, Coralie PhD
  5. Crowfoot, Gary PhD
  6. Fini, Natalie PhD
  7. Nilsson, Michael PhD
  8. Janssen, Heidi PhD


Background and Purpose: Regular, sustained moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) is a recommended strategy to reduce the risk of recurrent stroke for people who have had transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mild stroke. This study aimed to explore attitudes toward, and experience of engaging in physical activity by adults following a TIA or mild stroke.


Methods: Constructivist grounded theory methodology informed data collection and analysis. Interviews from 33 adults with TIA or mild stroke (mean age 65 [SD 10] years, 48% female, 40% TIA) were collected.


Results: Business as usual characterized physical activity engagement post-TIA or mild stroke. Most participants returned to prestroke habits, as either regular exerciser or nonexerciser, with only a small number making changes. Influencing factors for physical activity participation included information, challenges, strategies, and support. Business as usual was associated with a perceived lack of information to suggest a need to change behaviors. Nonexercisers and those who decreased physical activity emphasized challenges to physical activity, while regular exercisers and those who increased physical activity focused on strategies and support that enabled participation despite challenges.


Discussion and Conclusion: Information about the necessity to engage in recommended physical activity levels requires tailoring to the needs of the people with TIA or mild stroke. Helpful information in combination with support and strategies may guide how to navigate factors preventing engagement and might influence the low level of physical activity prevalent in this population.


Video Abstract available for more insights from the authors (see the Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1 available at: