Session Description

Aerobic cardiovascular fitness is comparatively low for individuals with SCI, approximately 25% of otherwise healthy young individuals with SCI fail to achieve oxygen consumption levels sufficient to perform essential activities of daily living (ADLs). Glucose metabolism, cytokine levels, HDL concentration, and self-esteem magnitude can be modified through increased physical activity including arm cycle ergometry, functional electrical stimulation, robotically assisted treadmill training, and aquatic exercise. However, controversy exists regarding the frequency and intensity required to achieve these beneficial effects. Clinically it is vital for optimal client health to assess baseline and post intervention cardiovascular levels. This presentation will increase understanding of cardiovascular fitness assessment and intervention for individuals with spinal cord injury as well as other chronic neuromuscular conditions. Pragmatic case examples demonstrate the systemic health issues linked to cardiovascular fitness, intervention concepts, and assessment possibilities (clinical and research). Our ultimate goal is to increase practitioner awareness and advocacy for annual cardiovascular assessment and intervention for all individuals living with chronic neuromuscular conditions.

Meet our Speakers:

William Scott MA received educational training at the University of Maryland at College Park earning an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and an advance degree (Masters) in Exercise Science. His early research focused on assessing performance (physiological, cognitive, psychological, and physical) in individuals wearing protective respirator devices while executing light, moderate, or vigorous task requirements under stressful environmental conditions. His later research endeavors examined the efficacy of exercise interventions in altering cardiovascular fitness and health in groups with neurological impairments (Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson, and Spinal Cord injury). Currently, Mr. Scott is co-investigator assessing aquatic exercise to address cardiovascular health issues in individuals with spinal cord injury. In addition, he’s currently involved in a research project to evaluate exoskeleton usage on quality of life in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury.

Paula Richley Geigle PT, MS, PhD has practice experience in lifespan treatment, physical therapy education, and clinical research. Her professional preparation includes: BS from Penn State, physical therapy training from Hahnemann Medical School, MS and PhD from University of Delaware, and postdoctoral training in clinical biostatistics/epidemiology at The University of Pennsylvania. Aquatic Physical Therapy Section roles (American Physical Therapy Association) included: president, secretary, bylaws chair, first recipient of the Section’s Swim Ex Clinical Research Grant for her study: Aquatic Exercise in Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema Management; and an investigator/co-PI on 3 Department of Defense awards: investigating Aquatic and Lokomat exercise outcomes, exoskeleton use, and creating a prediction formula for shoulder injury—all studies investigate individuals with spinal cord injury. In addition to > 50 peer reviewed articles, Dr. Geigle co-authored the text book Aquatic Exercise: Rehabilitation and Training.

Course Code:




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Completion Instructions

Review pre-recorded content, prepare and submit questions for the live Q and A, Attend the live Q and A, complete the assessment with at least a 70% score, claim certificate, provide feedback using course evaluation

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William Scott, MA; Paula Richley Geigle, PT, MS, PhD

Learning objectives

  1. List systemic issues associated with decreased cardiovascular fitness for individuals with spinal cord injury (and other neuromuscular chronic conditions).
  2. Calculate the metabolic equivalent units for a given activity for a person with spinal cord injury.
  3. Select aquatic environment conditions as well as supportive and resistance equipment needed for a given client case.
  4. Describes cardiovascular conditioning for the client in #3, insuring adequate dosage and client safety.
  5. Select assessment tool to measure the cardiovascular conditioning for the given client in learner’s facility.
  6. Identify skills, equipment, education/training needed to implement cardiovascular conditioning and assessment at each learner’s facility.
  7. Offer 2-3 concepts to adopt and promote in the learner’s facility, community, and practice arena to advance a health and wellness model for all individuals with chronic neuromuscular conditions.


Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy

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2Assessment - Cardiovascular Aquatic Conditioning
Type:E-Learning Course
Credit Categories
Domains:Paula Geigle, William Scott, aquatics, neuromuscular conditions