The development and evaluation of a novel hybrid exercise rehabilitation program for the improvement of the health-related quality of life and overall health status of persons with spinal cord injury

More than 35,000 Canadians are living with spinal cord injury (SCI), and recent research indicates that this population is at an increased risk for chronic disease, particularly cardiovascular disease. In fact, individuals with complete tetraplegia (paralysis of all four limbs) are at a markedly greater risk of death resulting from cardiovascular disease in comparison to the able-bodied population, due to factors such as obesity, inactivity, increased risk for blood clots and lower levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL). Hybrid exercise training (involving the concurrent exercise of the arms and legs) is thought to have the potential to lead to marked improvements in the overall health status of persons with SCI. However, no investigations have been performed to evaluate and define the best hybrid exercise program for the treatment and rehabilitation of persons with SCI. Shirley Wong’s research is focused on developing and evaluating a novel intervention program involving hybrid exercise training for persons with SCI. The ultimate goal of Shirley’s research is to reduce the risk for chronic disease and improve the overall health status and quality of life for persons living with SCI.