University of Washington

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine

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Benefits of an exercise wellness program after spinal cord injury


Crane DA, Hoffman JM, Reyes MR



Publication Info:

Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, Epub ahead of print 06/25/2015:


OBJECTIVE: To describe the initial benefits of a structured group exercise program on exercise frequency and intensity, perceived health, pain, mood, and television watching habits.
DESIGN: Pre-test/post-test.
PARTICIPANTS/METHODS: Eighty-nine persons with SCI participated voluntarily in a no-cost, twice weekly physical therapy group exercise class over 3 months. Forty-five persons completed pre- and post-participation interviews on exercise frequency and intensity, perceived health, pain, mood, sleep, and television watching habits.
RESULTS: Mean participant age of the respondents was 43.82 years. 49% had AIS C or D injuries, 24% had AIS A,B paraplegia, 9% had AIS A,B C1-C4 and 18% had AIS A,B C5-C8. 75.6% of participants were male and 84.4% had a traumatic etiology as the cause of their SCI. There was a significant improvement in days of strenuous and moderate exercise as well as health state. There was an average decrease in pain scores, depression scores, number of hours spent watching television, and days/week of mild exercise.
CONCLUSION: Participation in structured, small group exercise as a component of a wellness program after SCI shows promise for improving regular exercise participation and health state, but benefits may also occur across other areas of health and function including mood, pain, and hours spent watching television. Further follow-up is needed to determine whether improvements can be maintained after program completion and across all neurological levels.

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