OBJECTIVE: To investigate (1) changes in life satisfaction and mental health during 5 months of training for the HandbikeBattle and 4 months of follow-up; (2) associations between changes in handcycling cardiorespiratory fitness and changes in life satisfaction and mental health during the training period.
DESIGN: This is a multicenter prospective cohort study with the following measurements: the start of the training (T1), after the 5-month training period, before the event (T2), and after 4 months of follow-up (T3). At T1, T2, and T3, questionnaires were filled out. At T1 and T2, a graded exercise test was performed to measure cardiorespiratory fitness (peak oxygen consumption [Vo2peak] and peak power output [POpeak]).
SETTING: Ten Dutch rehabilitation centers training for the HandbikeBattle event.
PARTICIPANTS: Patients with a rehabilitation history (N=136) and health conditions such as spinal cord injury, amputation, or multiple trauma history.
INTERVENTIONS: Not applicable.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Life satisfaction as the sum score of 2 questions (range, 2-13) and the Mental Health subscale of the 36-item Short Form Health Survey (range, 0-100).
RESULTS: Multilevel regression analyses showed that life satisfaction increased during the training period and did not significantly change during follow-up (mean ± SD, T1: 8.2±2.2; T2: 8.6±2.3; T3: 8.5±2.4). Mental health showed no change over time (T1: 77.7±14.5; T2: 77.8±14.5; T3: 75.7±16.5). An improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with an increase in life satisfaction (POpeak, ß=0.014, P=.046; Vo2peak, ß=1.068, P=.04). There were no associations between improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness and an increase in mental health (POpeak, P=.66; Vo2peak, P=.33).
CONCLUSIONS: This study shows a positive course of life satisfaction during training for the HandbikeBattle. An improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness was longitudinally associated with an increase in life satisfaction. Mental health showed no changes over time.