Exercise and Spinal Cord Injury

After a Spinal Cord Injury, regular physical activity can have a big impact on improving your quality of life, independence and function. This can then help improve your ability to do day-to-day tasks e.g. transferring in and out of the car​. Physical activity gives you more energy, improves your mood and you may feel less tired throughout the day.

 Being physically active reduces the risk of developing health complications such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Pressure sores
  • Respiratory illness​

 Being physically active also helps with:

  • Spasticity
  • Weight gain
  • Pain
  • Function
  • Regular physical activity can help improve strength, mobility, fitness and balance​

Getting back on Track

If you happen to fall of track then don’t be discouraged. Remember it happens to all of us and no matter how daunting it may seem, it is possible to restart your routine and get back on track!

 Some tips to get back on track may be…

  1. Start small. Set yourself a small goal that you can build on. Exercise can feel overwhelming, so breaking it into small, more manageable chunks can be easier. You could work out for 5 minutes in the morning or to do two of your exercises each day. More often than not, once you start small you will feel good and want to keep going.
  2. Remember your why. Try not to focus too much on the effort of it, rather than the outcome. Remember that feeling post-workout.
  3. Schedule it. Plan a time that suits you, away from life distractions that fits in with your daily routine. When do you feel at your best and most motivated? Use this to your advantage and plan your workout for then. Track when you work out so you can track progress and enhance your motivation.
  4. Find a buddy. Having a friend or family member to workout with is a great way to boost motivation, hold each other accountable and stick to your workout routine. It also adds a social aspect, which brings a little more fun back into working out. 
  5. Make it Fun. Mix up your exercises, get outside if you can, put on some music or a podcast.

(Cheri Blauwet, 2016)

You may find these links to other web resources useful:

Spinal Injuries Scotland

Back Up Trust