3 Ways to Proactively Maintain A Healthy Weight After A Spinal Cord Injury

maintain a healthy weight
  • Once you have a spinal cord injury, it is hard to maintain a healthy weight. The spinal cord is responsible for sending messages from the brain to the rest of the body. When it is damaged, these messages may not get through. This can cause paralysis or weakness in the muscles below the injury.

An injured spinal cord makes it difficult or impossible to control the body’s movement and balance. Because of the deficit in connection from our brain to the rest of the body, this also affects our hormone levels and changes the processes that help determine weight control, caloric burn, and our fueling system. In addition, some medications used to treat spinal cord injuries can cause weight gain. For these reasons, it is important for people with spinal cord injuries to talk to their doctor about ways to maintain a healthy weight. There are many ways to do this, and the best approach will vary from person to person. 

Staying proactive is one of the best approaches, and here are a few ideas on how to maintain a healthy weight after a spinal cord injury. 

Maintain A Healthy Weight By Eating A Balanced Diet 

For individuals living with a spinal cord injury, maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of overall health and well-being. A balanced diet, which includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, is essential for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Getting the right nutrients helps promote healing, maintain bone and muscle mass, and improve cardiovascular health. In addition, eating a healthy diet can help boost energy levels, improve mood, and promote overall health and well-being. Making healthy food choices is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight after a spinal cord injury. 

Maintain A Healthy Weight By Avoiding Processed Foods 

Processed foods are often high in calories, fat, and sugar, which can lead to weight gain. They can also be difficult to digest, which can cause gastrointestinal problems. For these reasons, it’s important to avoid processed foods after a spinal cord injury. Instead, focus on eating whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. These foods are lower in calories and will help you maintain a healthy weight. In addition, they’re packed with nutrients essential for recovery. So make sure to fill your plate with healthy, whole foods after a spinal cord injury.

Maintain A Healthy Weight By Being Active 

A spinal cord injury can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. Since we sit all the time, and are limited in moving our bodies, it is important to ramp up our metabolism. Activity is one way to do this.

Being active after a spinal cord injury is important to maintain a healthy weight. There are many ways to be active, even with a spinal cord injury. It is easy to get discouraged and think that you aren’t able to be active like you were before your injury, and that is true! You won’t do things the same way as you did before, but you can certainly be active! Shawn Fluke, one of our Zuk fitness instructors, is a C5-C6 quadriplegic and has a personal website – LiveToRoll.org – dedicated to activity and education. He will give you many ideas and demonstrations, not only on his site, but also in our fitness videos.

You can participate in adaptive sports, join a wheelchair basketball team, take up wheelchair dancing, or even a stroll around your neighborhood. You can exercise at home with an adapted workout routine. Whatever you do, it is important to get moving and stay active to maintain a healthy weight. A spinal cord injury does not have to mean the end of an active lifestyle. With a little creativity and effort, you can find ways to be active and stay healthy. 

Maintaining a healthy weight is critical for everyone, but it’s especially important if you have a spinal cord injury. By eating a balanced diet, avoiding processed foods, and being active, you can work to prevent weight gain and stay healthy. If you need help getting started, check out our videos, which provide exercises tailored to people with various limitations.

With the right tools in your toolbox, maintaining your health is within reach!

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