A 16-week randomized controlled trial evaluating the physical activity guidelines for adults with spinal cord injury
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STUDY DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effectiveness of the physical activity guidelines (PAG) for adults with spinal cord injury (SCI) to improve aspects of physical fitness. SETTING: Community exercise facility. METHODS: Twenty-three participants (age: 40.4±11.6 years, C1-T11, 12.0±10.0 years post injury) were randomized into PAG training (n=12) or active control (CON, n=11) groups. PAG training was 2x per week for 16 weeks and involved 20 min of aerobic exercise at a moderate to vigorous intensity and three sets of 10 repetitions (at 50-70% 1 repetition maximum; 1RM). Pre- and post-testing included peak exercise and aerobic endurance tests on an arm ergometer and 1RM testing. RESULTS: Nineteen participants (PAG, n=11; CON, n=8) completed the 16-week training program and post-testing. There was a significant (P<0.05) increase in peak aerobic capacity (relative VO2peak: 17.2%, absolute VO2peak: 9.9%) and submaximal power output (26.3%) in the PAG group only. Increases in strength ranged from 11.5-38.9% and were significantly (P<0.05) different from CON for vertical bench press, seated row, and rickshaw press. Adherence to the exercise program was 85.2±8.3% for PAG, 44.4±34.3% for CON (P<0.01). CONCLUSION: The PAG for adults with SCI are sufficient to improve aspects of aerobic and muscular fitness and should be promoted as a means to improve physical capacity. SPONSORSHIP: Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.
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