B.C.-led research aims to help people with spinal cord injuries get fit

by | Oct 26, 2017 | Work Related Injuries | 0 comments

Spinal cord injury
Brad Skeats, who has a spinal cord injury, poses for a photograph at the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre at Vancouver General Hospital, in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday October 25, 2017. People with spinal cord injuries now have a set of exercise guidelines for maintaining heart health to match those offered to the general population decades ago. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

VANCOUVER -- People with spinal cord injuries now have a set of exercise guidelines for maintaining heart health to match those offered to the general population decades ago.

Kathleen Martin Ginis, a researcher at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus, led an international committee that recommends 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise, three times a week, for people with spinal cord injuries.

That's compared with 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every week for others, as recommended by the World Health Organization.

Martin Ginis said the new guidelines are in addition to recommendations she helped come up with in 2011 for people with spinal cord injuries through her work at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont.

She will present her latest research on Thursday in Dublin at the annual meeting of the International Spinal Cord Society.

Martin Ginis worked with a team that included participants from Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy and the United States. Their research will be published this week in the journal Spinal Cord.

Besides her own work, the team analyzed 211 studies examining the effects exercise on cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, bone health, body composition and cardiovascular risk factors for people with spinal cord injuries.

That population faces significant barriers when it comes to exercise, starting with transportation if they aim to get to a gym, let alone trying to navigate their wheelchairs on sidewalks without ramps, Martin Ginis said in...

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