February is heart month, so CORE is here to tell you how adaptive cardiovascular fitness can help keep your heart healthy. Did you know the leading cause of death in the U.S. is cardiovascular disease? And individuals with spinal cord injuries (according to the American Academy of Neurology) are four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than others! Beside the obvious benefits of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and improving cardiovascular function, cardio exercises can help with weight management, mood, blood pressure, and even sleep. With enough persistence, it may even be beneficial for increasing independence. It’s never too late to start taking preventive measures and caring for your heart so here’s how you can get started!

The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week for individuals with disabilities. Those numbers may sound daunting, but you can successfully tackle your cardio needs at home with these helpful tips from the CORE Fit Program Director, Annie:


  1. Start slow. There’s no need to rush into a full hour-long workout on your first day. Work your way up to longer bouts of exercise as you build your endurance.
  2. Create a routine for yourself. Find a time in your day where you can easily fit in ten to twenty minutes of exercise. Try adding a few arm circles in before you brush your teeth in the morning or before you go to bed at night. Most likely, you have ten spare minutes in your day and this ten minute workout will be the perfect way to kick start your cardio:
    • If you have a set of small dumbbells (around 2lbs) or two water bottles, grab one in each hand.
    • Do 45 seconds of seated punches with the weights
    • Take ten seconds of rest.
    • Repeat for a total of ten rounds.
    • If the added weight is too much, drop the weight and do unweighted punches.
  3. Do the commercial workout! If you have a hard time fitting exercise into your schedule but you love tv, fit it in during a commercial break. Do some burpees from the edge of your couch or grab a water bottle and do some bicep curls.

Those are some great tips for getting started at home, but when you’re ready to boost your cardio routine, head to CORE for some one-on-one activity based training or group adaptive fitness classes with the CORE Fit program. Our specialized equipment can help you get your heart pumping while getting you out of your chair, or you can stay seated and still get a great workout. CORE Fit offers high-intensity group adaptive fitness classes, combining cardiovascular exercises and muscular strengthening. And starting in March, CORE Fit will offer athletes with neurological conditions of all ability levels an opportunity to come together and exercise. If you haven’t started at CORE, ask how you can get moving with us. If you have a regular CORE routine and want to get involved in Fit classes, talk to one of our five Fit coaches to find out more information and trial a Fit Class for free!



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