Health implications of physical activity in individuals with spinal cord injury: A literature review

Bo Fernhall, Kevin Heffernan, Young Jae Sae, Brad Hedrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Physical activity has demonstrated beneficial effects on health and longevity in the general population, and physically active individuals are at lower risk for many chronic diseases compared to their sedentary peers. Individuals with disabilities in general are less active than individuals without disabilities, but it is still unknown if physical activity confers the same level of risk reduction in populations with as without disabilities. Individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) have among the lowest levels of physical activity participation compared to other populations. They also demonstrate early onset of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. This literature review discusses evidence for the potential benefits of physical activity in persons with SCI and provides a summary of pertinent studies to date. Although being physically active and physically fit appears to be associated with several health benefits in persons with SCI, most studies are small and little longitudinal evidence exists. Future studies will be needed to address this need.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-502
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Health and Human Services Administration
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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