A popular comorbidity of spinal cord injuries is physical deconditioning that frequently prejudice the person to increased risk for secondary non-communicable diseases, such as non-dependent insulin diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, cardiorespiratory diseases, obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis and osteoarthritis. Clinical literature has shown that spinal cord injured individuals have a poor cardiometabolic risk profile that amplifies the likelihood of secondary non-communicable diseases. Components of physical deconditioning include muscle atrophy, decreased aerobic capacity, inflexibility and diminished muscle and endurance. Another problem associated with spinal cord injuries is reliance or dependence on others. The combination of poor physical conditioning and dependence on others often adversely impacts on the individual’s quality of life, limiting their social interaction with others. The adherence to habitual physical activity and exercises has shown to increase conditioning status, improve health and wellbeing, increase independence, and improve confidence and self-image and successful re-integration in community. Therefore it is of paramount importance to increase awareness of the benefits of habitual physical activity and exercise to spinal cord injured patients, medical and clinical practitioners, family and friends. This chapter intends to highlight the health benefits of habitual physical activity in relation to selected secondary non-communicable diseases, and, the importance of interprofessional clinical and therapeutic team strategy to improve the spinal cord injured individuals’ quality of life.
Part of the book: Therapy Approaches in Neurological Disorders