Does exercise at home or a gym offer better outcomes for people with SCI?

A feasibility study

Since adaptive cardiovascular equipment is typically not available, ICORD researchers have created a relatively inexpensive rowing machine (AROW) that can be set up in a home or local gym. They want to know what setting is the best place for individuals with a SCI/D to have access: at home or in a gym? In a home the exercise equipment might be close at hand with little need to travel to a gym, but some might like the social aspect of others to exercise with. This study will explore, to a limited capacity, the impact of both. Participants will receive a modified rower to use at home for two months and then a pass at a gym that has a modified rower for two months. Your cardiovascular fitness will be tested before you begin, after the home rower phase, and after the gym phase of the study. Testing will be done at ICORD.

Why should you participate in this study?

There may be some health benefits to individuals for participating in this study since we know regular exercise can improve fitness, however, to what degree for each person is unknown. Your results will assist in providing us a better understanding of how we can use modified equipment like these rowing machine adaptations in everyday exercise and their homes for people who use wheelchairs.

You may be able to participate in this study if you

  • Are over the age of 18
  • Understand written and spoken English
  • Do not have any cardiac/respiratory illness (i.e. asthma).
  • Do not have any symptoms of COVID (fever, cough, muscle aches, headache, etc) and have not been out of the country in the past 14 days. (Please read Notice of COVID Related Risks During Research provided to you).
  • Have no known contraindications for exercise
  • Use a wheelchair for your primary mobility
  • Are ready to participate in physical activity (based on the PAR-Q+ form)
  • Have received at least the first two doses of a COVID vaccine.

You may not be able to participate if you

  • have a resting blood pressure during our testing of 140/90.

Time commitment: three 1.5 hour visits to ICORD, plus your own time to exercise

The study will take place at ICORD in the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre (818 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver)

For more information or to sign up to participate, please contact Dr. Bonita Sawatzky by email or phone 778-388-2885