Effective exercise intensity in early rehabilitation of paraplegia

P. Capodaglio, C. Grilli, C. Pistarini, G. Fugazza, G. Bazzini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Greater knowledge of the responses to prolonged physical exertion of newly injured paraplegic patients during primary rehabilitation would facilitate the prescription of an effective conditioning program. Methods: Four newly injured male paraplegic subjects performed progressive resistance and endurance exercise tests on an arm cranking ergometer and arm strength tests with a computerized dynamometer. The individual 6-hour heart rates were monitored with a cardiotachometer and the daily energy expenditures were calculated. Cardiorespiratory parameters during exercise were monitored with an oxygen uptake analyzer and ratings of perceived exertion were given on Borg's 10-point scale. Tests were repeated after a 4-week self-paced training program. The prescription of exercise intensity was tailored to each patient's suhjectively and objectively tolerable power for prolonged exertion. Main findings: Improvements in endurance capacity after four weeks of training were monitored by the shifting of the iso-perception curves towards higher power output levels. We observed parallel improvements in functional scores (VFM scale), muscle strenght and physical work capacity in all subjects after the training program. Conclusions: We found that a 4-week program based on a 'moderate' intensity of exercise, according to Borg's scale, was sufficient for a proper conditioning of newly injured paraplegics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-130
Number of pages6
JournalEuropa Medicophysica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • aerobic training
  • paraplegia
  • perceived exertion
  • physical work capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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