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Title: Supporting the prescription of exercise in spinal cord injured populations
Author: Paulson, Thomas A. W.
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2013
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Following a spinal cord injury (SCI), participation in regular exercise can enhance physical capacity and performance in activities of daily living. With this in mind, the use of subjective ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) may provide an easy-to-administer alternative to traditional methods of regulating exercise intensity (e.g. heart rate and power output (PO)). A physically active lifestyle is also associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, in part because exercise exerts anti-inflammatory effects. Examining the plasma response of inflammation-mediating chemical messengers, known as cytokines, to traditional and novel exercise modalities may help maximise the anti-inflammatory potential of regular exercise. Participants with a cervical level SCI successfully self-regulated a 20 min bout of moderate intensity wheelchair propulsion (Chapter three). No differences in physiological or PO responses were observed during the imposed-intensity and self-regulated wheelchair propulsion in the trained population group. In a non-SCI group of novice wheelchair-users, a differentiated RPE specific to the exercising muscle mass (RPEP) was the dominant perceptual signal during submaximal wheelchair propulsion (Chapter four). The novice group successfully self-regulated a 12 min bout of moderate intensity wheelchair propulsion, comprising of a discontinuous 3 x 4 min protocol, using differentiated RPEP. In contrast, a more accurate self-regulation of light intensity wheelchair propulsion was observed when employing traditional overall RPE compared to RPEP. Following strenuous wheelchair propulsion, plasma concentrations of the inflammation-mediating cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) were significantly elevated in non-SCI and thoracic level SCI participants (Chapter five). Impaired sympathetic nervous system (SNS) function was associated with a reduced IL-6 response in participants with a cervical level SCI. The plasma IL-6 response to 30 min moderate intensity (60% VO2peak) arm-crank ergometry (ACE) was associated with an elevation in the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) independent of SNS activation (Chapter six). Light intensity ACE resulted in a small, significant plasma IL-6 response but no IL-1ra response. The addition of functional electrical stimulation-evoked lower-limb cycling to concurrent hand cycling, termed hybrid exercise, resulted in a greater plasma IL-6 response compared to moderate intensity hand cycling alone in participants with a thoracic level SCI (Chapter seven).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Tetrapelgia ; Paraplegia ; Wheelchair propulsion ; Hybrid exercise ; Arm-crank ergometry ; Immune system ; Cardiovascular disease