Joanne Smith and Kylie JamesWe all know that eating well and working out are essential to good health — and this couldn’t be more true for people with SCI. Numerous studies show that including certain nutrients in your diet and exercising regularly can help you along your journey to improve your strength and endurance, reduce pain and depression, and prevent the development of conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Also, healthy diet and exercise can keep you looking good and feeling great, as well as enhance your independence and overall quality of life!

What are the physical activity guidelines for adults with SCI? Researchers recommend that healthy adults with SCI should participate in at least 20 minutes of moderate-vigorous aerobic activity two times per week, as well as strength training exercises two times per week. These are the first evidence-based guidelines to be developed specifically to support people with SCI in improving their physical fitness.

Eating well and working out are essential to good health — and this couldn’t be more true for people with spinal cord injury. Here are some tips for what you should eat to fuel your body for aerobic exercise and strength-training:

• Aerobic exercise: The preferred energy source for any cardiovascular exercise is carbohydrates. To help prevent fatigue and replenish energy stores eat approximately 30 grams of complex carbohydrates one hour before exercising. If working out intensely, eat 50-70 grams of carbohydrates 30-60 minutes after working out. Healthy complex carbohydrates sources include oatmeal, whole grain bread, low-sugar energy bars and bran muffins.

• Strength-training: