Context/Objective: Respiratory disorders are a common cause of rehospitalization, and premature death in individuals with spinal cord injuries (SCI). Respiratory training combined with community exercise programs may be a method to reduce secondary complications in this population. Objective: The present study explores the inclusion of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) in an existing community exercise program. Design: Case series. Setting: Community. Participants: Participants (N = 6) completed the exercise program. Five were male and one was female; four reported incomplete injuries, and two reported complete injuries; four had cervical injuries, and two had thoracic injuries. The average age was 33 years (SD = 18.6) and time since injury was 7 years (SD = 4.0). Interventions: Participants completed an 8-week program, once-per-week for 4 h that included a circuit of resistance training, aerobic exercise, trunk stability, and education. IMT was completed as a home exercise program. Outcome Measures: Transfer test, T-shirt test, four-directional reach, four-directional trunk strength, weekly training diaries, and a subjective interview. Results: Twenty-eight training logs were collected. All measures improved: transfer test (mean = -14.62, SD = 7.00 s), T-shirt test (mean = -7.83, SD = 13.88 s), four-directional reach (mean = 3.75, SD = 8.06 in) and hand-held dynamometer (mean = 6.73, SD = 8.02 kg). Individuals reported a positive impact of the program. Conclusions: This pilot study demonstrated community exercise with IMT use may have positive impact on functional measures for people with SCI who are vulnerable to respiratory compromise. Continued education may increase successful health outcomes. Trial Registration: NCT03743077.
Keywords: Community program; Daily function; Exercise; Respiratory training; Spinal cord injury.