High intensity interval training could be beneficial for people with spinal cord injuries.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a cardiovascular exercise strategy that alternates short periods of intense exercise with less intense recovery periods, until too exhausted to continue. These HIIT workouts typically last under 30 minutes.
Researchers found HIIT improves cardiorespiratory fitness in people with SCI to a degree that matches longer bouts of moderate intensity exercise. This population is generally able to tolerate HIIT with very few reports of harm from this type of training.
Although this isn't overly surprising, why it is interesting research to me, is that often early on in a clients' rehab after SCI, their days can be "very busy with physiotherapy, occupational therapy, functional training and exercise training, all with the goal of optimizing transition to the community". "More efficient forms of exercise can be particularly attractive" in order to save them time and still allow for improved physical fitness. SCIs can lead to reduced physical activity which in turn leads to muscle atrophy, increased body fat and an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
I have posted some articles with high intensity exercise showing success in our senior population. We have been using higher intensity training within out stroke and Parkinson population as well, as research has been supporting HIIT in these groups. It seems to be pretty clear that most populations are benefiting from higher intensity exercise even early on in their rehabilitation.