March 17, 2011 - Physical activity plays a critical role in overall health. The loss of fitness and independence associated with physical inactivity greatly impacts quality-of-life and community participation for people with spinal cord injury (SCI). In fact, the leading causes of death among people with SCI are chronic diseases, such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes, which are often caused by physical inactivity.
The newly released Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with SCI are the first evidence-based guidelines to be developed specifically to support people with SCI in living healthier, more active lives. They state that to improve fitness, healthy adults with SCI should participate in at least 20 minutes of moderate-vigorous aerobic activity two times per week, as well as strength training exercises two times per week.
The Guidelines recommend a wide variety of aerobic and strength training activities that are appropriate for people with SCI. For example, aerobic activities such as arm cycling, body weight supported treadmill walking or water exercise, or strength training exercises using weights, or elastic resistance bands will help get the heart rate up, improve strength and muscle mass.
For people with SCI, the lack of physical conditioning due to their injury is linked to an increased risk for chronic secondary health complications, such as pain and pressure ulcers. Participating in regular physical activity may go a long way in helping reduce the frequency and severity of secondary complications.
Want to learn more about the new Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with SCI?
Visit the SCI Action Canada website to view the full Guidelines at www.sciactioncanada.ca/guidelines
The Guidelines were developed by an expert panel from across Canada, led by researchers at McMaster University, with support from the Rick Hansen Institute, and in partnership with SCI Action Canada. Development of the Guidelines followed a rigorous and internationally accepted, consensus approach to guideline development.