This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on Exercise and Fitness After Spinal Cord Injury. Lynn Worobey, PhD, DPT, ATP, researcher, discusses Breaking Down Barriers to Exercise.

So I think there are a lot of barriers that these people with spinal cord injury that sometimes can be kind of an inhibitor to exercising. I think accessibility is a big one. So, part of it can be building accessibility. So “Can I get to the gym?” Another thing can be the accessibility of equipment. So it may be that you can’t transfer to the equipment. You can’t reach things. Or it might be that your hand function is different or balance is different, so you might need different adaptations to the equipment, because a lot of the times we may have those while somebody’s in rehab or seeing a therapist. But once they’re out in the community, it’s a little different.

So usually that’s part of our job as a therapist is to show them how you can do this once you’re going home. So it might be that you’re not hitting dumbbells or other equipment but maybe picking up a jug of milk is something that your hand can fit into and you can do. So sometimes different things around the house you can be using. You don’t necessarily need the fancy equipment, or there might be kind of low-cost ways that you can adapt things that you can do them.

We send people home with Thera-bands a lot of the time. They’re resistance bands. They’re not too expensive. A lot of people think that you need a dumbbell, but you can actually do quite a bit of resisted exercises with a Thera-band. It could be something like lifting objects at home, moving them, even carrying your laundry.

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