Benefits of Cardiovascular Fitness

During Mrs. L.V.’s inpatient rehabilitation, she participated in a daily exercise class that involved cardiovascular training on the arm ergometer and FES bike and a strengthening exercise program using wall pulleys. Mrs. L.V. also received education and diet modification from the registered dietitian. Mrs. L.V. has lost 20 pounds since the injury. She hopes to lose another 10 pounds, which would get her close to her ideal body weight (IBW). Mrs. L.V. has received educational information stating that to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease it is recommended she engage in a regular physical exercise program.
Q2. Theoretically, how might physical exercise influence cardiovascular disease in individuals with SCI?
1. Habitual physical activity (figure 3) can lead to numerous health benefits that significantly reduce the risk for multiple chronic conditions, in particular CVD, and premature mortality in persons with SCI.

For more information please see: Benefits of Cardiovascular Fitness

Figure 3. Active living post SCI.

Q3. What are the cardiovascular health benefits of aerobic exercise training in individuals with SCI?
1. Tetraplegics and paraplegics can improve their cardiovascular fitness and physical work capacity through aerobic exercise training which are of moderate intensity, performed 20 – 60 min day, at least three times per week for a minimum of six to eight weeks.
2. Resistance training at a moderate intensity at least two days per week also appears to be appropriate for the rehabilitation of persons with SCI.
3. It remains to be determined the optimal exercise intervention for improving cardiovascular fitness.

For more information please see: Aerobic Exercise Training