Relationship between physical activity level and flexibility profile of Nigerian postpartum women

Ojukwu, Chidiebele Petronilla, Ikele, Chioma Nneka, Okemuo, Adaora Justina Okemuo, Ikele, Ikenna Theophilus, Ede, Stephen Sunday orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4340-4297, Okoye, Goddy Chuba, Cyprian, Nnamoko and Onwumere, Tochukwu Hilary (2023) Relationship between physical activity level and flexibility profile of Nigerian postpartum women. Azerbaijan Medical Journal, 63 (1). pp. 7239-7249. ISSN 0005-2523

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Flexibility is an essential component of musculoskeletal health and is usually associated with physical activity levels. Pregnancy and its aftermath may influence physical activity participation and musculoskeletal flexibility in women, which warrants this study. Thus, this study aimed to assess the physical activity level and musculoskeletal flexibility profile of Nigerian Postpartum women. In this cross-sectional study, 462 postpartum women were conveniently sampled from Healthcare Facilities in Anambra State, Nigeria. Physical Activity was assessed using Global Physical Activity Questionnaire while flexibility profile was assessed using modified sit-and-reach (for the lower back and limb components), total body rotation (for trunk component) and shoulder rotation tests (for upper limb components). Relevant inferential statistics were used to compare variables between the two groups of women. The results showed that 42.0% of the women were fairly flexible and 51.1% of them had high Physical Activity level. Majority (77.6%) of their daily physical activities were from work. Statistically, there was no significant relationship between their physical activity levels and flexibility profile of the participants (p = 0.066). The postpartum physical activity level of the respondents is not a determinant of their musculoskeletal flexibility. Recommendation of structured physical exercises, particularly flexibility trainings to postpartum women in Nigeria is necessary for optimum maintenance of their general postpartum and musculoskeletal health.

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