Tolerable exercise intensity in the early rehabilitation of paraplegic patients. A preliminary study

Paolo Capodaglio, Cesare Grilli, Giacomo Bazzini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Accessible indicators for setting exertion levels in newly injured paraplegias could be useful to improve their daily and occupational performances in less time than is presently required. Eight male newly injured paraplegic subjects performed progressive resisted and endurance exercise tests on an arm cranking ergometer. Cardiorespiratory parameters during exercise were monitored with an oxygen uptake analyzer and perceived exertion was rated on Borg's 10-point scale. Four subjects (Group A) underwent an 'enhanced' rehabilitation protocol which included aerobic arm training sessions. The prescription of exercise intensity was tailored to each subject's tolerable power output for prolonged exertion. The remaining four (Group B) followed a 'conventional' rehabilitation program. Tests were repeated in both groups after 6 weeks. We observed a greater improvement in endurance capacity in Group A than in Group B after completion of the rehabilitation program. A 6-week 'enhanced' rehabilitation program based on a 'moderate' intensity of exercise was well tolerated and effective in improving the fitness levels of newly injured paraplegic subjects. Subjective perception has been shown to be a simple and accessible indicator for setting exertion levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-690
Number of pages7
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Arm cranking
  • Oxygen consumption
  • Paraplegia
  • Perceived exertion
  • Physical work capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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