Viability of high intensity interval training in persons with spinal cord injury-a perspective review

Todd A Astorino, Audrey L Hicks, James L J Bilzon

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Spinal cord injury (SCI) leads to loss of sensory and motor function below the level of injury leading to paralysis and limitations to locomotion. Therefore, persons with SCI face various challenges in engaging in regular physical activity, which leads to a reduction in physical fitness, increases in body fat mass, and reduced physical and mental health status. Moderate intensity continuous training (MICT) is recommended to enhance physical fitness and overall health status in this population, but it is not always effective in promoting these benefits. High intensity interval training (HIIT) has been promoted as an alternative to MICT in individuals with SCI due to its documented efficacy in healthy able-bodied individuals as well as those with chronic disease. However, the body of knowledge concerning its application in this population is limited and mostly composed of studies with small and homogeneous samples. The aim of this review was to summarize the existing literature regarding the efficacy of HIIT on changes in health- and fitness-related outcomes in this population, denote potential adverse responses to HIIT, describe how participants perceive this modality of exercise training, and identify the overall feasibility of interval training in persons with SCI.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberSC-2020-0032 RR
Pages (from-to)3-8
Number of pages6
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number1
Early online date1 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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