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Do you need to exercise after a spinal cord injury?

After you have been hurt in a car accident or other incident that leads to a spinal cord injury, you'll need to go through some recovery time. Part of recovering from spinal cord injuries includes exercise, even though it may seem like that makes little sense. This is because despite being unable to feel your body parts, the muscles, nerves and circulation depend on your health.

After a spinal cord injury, you may not be able to feel parts of your body. Paralysis is common after a serious injury, but that doesn't mean you can go without exercise. If you don't exercise, your muscles can atrophy, and that leads to less strength than if you continued to exercise regularly.

You'll need to speak with your attorney about making a claim after an accident, because long-term care can be expensive. These fitness guidelines should be followed, but you may need to work with a specialist. To start with, you should be trying to do aerobic and strength training exercises at least twice per week. For aerobic exercises, you should aim to do 20 minutes of exercise. If you can't feel your body parts, then a specialist may need to help you move during these exercises.

If you have feeling in some parts of the body, that's where you may focus your exercise. For instance, you may choose to work out your upper body with aerobic exercises if your legs are paralyzed. You may also decide to lift free weights or to use pulleys to work out your upper body if that's all you can move freely.

Together with legal remedies, taking care of your post-accident body can go a long way to providing a satisfactory quality of life for you after your spinal cord injury.

Source: SCI Action Canada and the Rick Hansen Institute, "Physical Activity Guidelines," accessed Dec. 04, 2015

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