Given the severity of COVID-19, people with Spinal Cord Injuries and Disabilities are some of the most at risk populations. While staying home, practicing social distancing and good hygiene are of upmost importance it is also imperative that we stay active through exercise options at home. Exercise can help boost immunity and keep us in good physical and mental health!
Not Sure where to begin? A good place would be to follow the Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with Spinal Cord Injury. They are as follows:
- For fitness and muscle strength benefits, adults with SCI should engage in:
- At least 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise 2 times per week
- 3 sets of strength exercises for each major functioning muscle group, at a moderate to vigorous intensity, 2 times per week.
- For cardio health benefits, adults with SCI are suggested to engage in
- At least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise 3 times per week
This guideline by the University of British Columbia has been developed by an international group of SCI scientists, people living with SCI, clinicians, and representatives from SCI organizations. For more information on these guidelines visit HERE.
We have identified the following adaptive/inclusive fitness, dance and yoga resources available online that you can access to help you stay active and healthy at home!
Our Virtual Classes
Sitness! SCI Exercise Class: Live group exercise classes to be done fully from a seated position, and guaranteed to get your heart rate going! Powered by Social Creatures and led by world class trainer. Join us every Tuesday, from 2 – 3 pm on Zoom! All levels welcome and no equipment needed. Our Sitness class videos are now archived on YouTube, so that we can revisit them and keep the momentum going between our weekly live group exercise classes. Sitness! SCI Exercise Class Playlist
SCI Well Being Group: Our virtual SCI well-being group from 12 – 1 pm on Zoom. Topics will include yoga, meditation, mindfulness and other practices that help with stress and anxiety.
Virtual Zumba: Virtual Zumba Zoom led by Recreational Therapy! Every other Thursday from 2:30pm-3:30pm. All abilities welcome and the motivation to move through seated fitness is encouraged.
Adaptive/Inclusive Home Workouts
The Axis Project: The Axis Project is hosting free weekly workout classes and activities on their Facebook Live page.
NCHPAD Inclusive Home Workouts: The National Center on Health, Physical Activity and disability has curated a YouTube free playlist of the top exercises for all abilities to choose.
AdaptatHome: Disabled Sports USA has numerous free live and recorded adaptive exercise and fitness classes you can participate.
Active Homes: Strength-Training Guide For People with SCI: This guide is designed as a resource manual for individuals with a spinal cord injury who want to try to meet the strength training recommendations as outlined in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults with SCI.
Model Systems Knowledge Translation -Spinal Cord Injury: Exercise and Fitness after Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) consists of a suite of resources to help people understand the importance of exercise and remaining fit after SCI.
Champion’s Rx Program: Calling all athletes with a disability! This is a FREE, high-intensity daily workout program designed to challenge all ability levels.
National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability: NCHPAD’ also offers a FREE14 Week Program, personalized, web-based physical activity and nutrition program for individuals with disabilities and chronic health conditions.
ADAPT Advanced SitStrong Program: Adapt is about to kick off a four-week elite-level series of live, online fitness classes. The SitStrong program runs three days a week and can be completed without any equipment. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, ADAPT is offering on a donation basis.
Adapt to Perform: Free wheelchair fitness YouTube channel with a myriad of quality home workout videos, most of which can performed with minimal, or sometimes no specialized equipment.
Borp Online Fitness: BORP offers a variety of different free online fitness options for people with disabilities to help them stay active and healthy. They are offering online virtual workouts classes via Zoom. Visit their FACEBOOK page for more information.
Seated Upper Body Exercise: 45 minute seated workout Developed by a team which included Adaptive Sports and Recreation Specialist (Gina Biter-Mundt) and Kaiser Foundation Rehabilitation Center Vallejo (KFRC) physical therapists in consultation with rehabilitation doctors.
The Adapt Movement: The Adapt Movement are offering a 30-day workout challenge and many other free online zoom inclusive classes. Checkout their calendar for list of events.
Adaptive Adventures Virtual Programs: Adaptive Adventures offers both informative and interactive webinars via Zoom Platform. Activities include things such as yoga (no equipment or experience necessary) and cycling; and you can also learn about the benefits of different sports.
Shepherd Center Workout Routine for People with Spinal Cord Injury: Shepherd Center YouTube playlist for upper extremity exercises for people with SCI (both assisted and resistive)
Reeve Health Minute: Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation YouTube playlist videos on exercises and other healthy living tips.
Adaptive Workout Videos for Paraplegic Spinal Cord Injury: YouTube Playlist of adaptive workout videos for paras by Team USA Para-powerlifting teammate Garrison Redd.
World of SCI: Every Wednesday WSCI will post an Adaptive CF Training for quadriplegics and paraplegics. They explain the execution of each movement and adaptations for all injury levels, equipment needed and the safety set-up. Follow them and stay active!
Exercises At Home Packet: Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington put together this wonderful packet of exercises that most can perform from a sitting position at home or a gym.
Spinal Cord Injury University: SCI-U offers free online courses including one on physical activity so you can improve your fitness, health and quality of life.
Physical Activity Alliance At Home Resources: The Physical Activity Alliance has compiled this list (still growing) of free resources that make it possible for people of all ages to be active at home.
Hot Wheelz Fitness: New Online adaptive virtual gym. Watch and follow along with fitness instructors from around the globe as we bring adaptive workouts and group classes directly to you! Subscribe to follow specific channels, instructors and MORE! You can also stream our videos directly from our NEW Roku App.
Wheelchair Dance Organization: WDO are offering FREE Livestream Virtual Classes for all abilities. Visit their website to register.
Infinite Flow Dance: America’s 1st wheelchair dance company that includes dancers with and without disabilities is now offering Free IG live classes M-F at 11pm PST.
Axis Dance Company: Axis Dance Company is offering physically integrated dance classes online for you to participate in at home via Zoom.
Dance for All Bodies: They are offering free online inclusive dance classes via Zoom.
Chair Dancing Fitness: Presents a five day Seated Quarantine Workout Plan alongside other free virtual adaptive classes throughout the week.
Choreographed Dance with Chelsea Hill: These short videos teach a choreographed seated dance routine to popular music. Fun to follow along and learn.
Inclusive Yoga: A pdf guide for Individuals with spinal cord injuries.
Inclusive Yoga: A Practice for Individuals with a Spinal Cord Injury: This 35 minute yoga video is a first-of-its-kind practice for individuals with a disability.
The Impossible Dream Catamaran: With their partners, Dharma Yoga Studio, The Woody Foundation and Shake-A-Leg Miami, they are offering virtual Chair Yoga classes weekly on Mondays and Thursdays at 2:15 pm. live streaming on Facebook.
Adaptive Yoga with WheelPower: Nina the Yoga Instructor demonstrates effective and safe adaptive chair yoga poses in this 1 hr. class. Free to stream.
Adaptive Yoga – Full Class: Stream 1hr adaptive yoga class with renowned adaptive yoga instructor Matthew Sanford on YouTube.
Yoga for Paralysis: YogaAnytime features over 2,600 videos to help you move, heal, connect, begin, and/or teach yoga. They offer an 8 episode online streaming adaptive yoga options from wheelchair instructor Quinn Brett. Targeted to those with more mobility (manual chair user/paraplegics). They are currently offering a 15-day free trial membership.
Adaptive Yoga for Veterans: adaptive 39 minute adaptive Yoga for Veterans series on YouTube.
Seated Tai Chi Exercises: A 36 minute Tai Chi tutorial you can do sitting or standing.
Mindfulness Meditation: Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation mindfulness techniques class.
Other Helpful Resources
7 Budget-Friendly Products for a High-Performance Home Gym: New Mobility provides you with budget friendly equipment so that you can work out in the comforts of your own home.
12 Household Items to Use Instead of Dumbbells: Helpful article on what household items can be used in replacement for dumbbells.
Here’s How to Stay Active While Practicing Social Distancing: Shepherd Center fitness expert discusses how to stay active during the COVID-19 pandemic if you use a wheelchair or have special needs.
The Benefits of Meditation for Individuals with a Spinal Cord or Brain Injury: Craig Hospital guide on Meditation for SCI
*We strongly recommend that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.
**Disclaimer: Linking to publications, materials or websites of other organizations or entities does not constitute endorsement by Mount Sinai of such publications, materials or websites. Mount Sinai provides these references and links because they may be of value to persons interested in SCI.