September is Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Awareness month. As the month comes to a close, we will focus on the importance of exercise for individuals with SCI and take a look at 6 common conditions to be aware of when exercising to stay safe during your workout.
Benefits of Exercise with SCI
To many individuals with a SCI, the thought of exercising can seem overwhelming and downright scary. Although exercising with SCI does pose its challenges, regular exercise is very important for the overall health and well-being of these individuals. Of course, exercise provides numerous benefits to both physical and mental health and offers the additional benefit of improving independence and the ability to perform day-to-day activities.
Research in the SCI population has shown that exercise improves:
- Respiration (breathing)
- Muscle strength
- Immune system function
- Body composition
- Independence and ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL’s)
Likewise, exercise also helps prevent:
- Urinary tract infections
- Respiratory infections
- Loss of muscle mass
And finally, exercise reduces:
- The risk for diabetes
- The risk for heart disease
Fortunately, most individuals with SCI can exercise safely, as long as they are familiar with a few common conditions.
Our Top 6 Considerations When Exercising with SCI
Being aware of a few common conditions associated with SCI that can impact exercise will help you take the necessary steps to minimize your risk so that you can exercise safely.
Here are our top 6 considerations when exercising with SCI:
#2 Blood Pressure
#3 Heart Rate
#4 Skin Breakdown
#5 Bone Loss
#6 Muscles & Joints
Each day over the next week, we will take a look at one of these 6 common conditions associated with SCI. We will see how they can impact exercise and outline the steps that you can take to minimize risk and make exercise both enjoyable and safe.
Remember, exercising with SCI doesn’t have to be intimidating or scary, and the benefits of exercise are well-worth the investment!