Young man in wheelchair at the gym.

This month, we interviewed physical therapist and SCI fitness expert, Kristin Mcnealus:

You have a lot of experience working with people who have spinal cord injuries. Tell us a little bit about your background.

I’ve been a physical therapist for 12 years now. My work experience includes being a staff physical therapist on inpatient rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injuries at a number of hospitals in Southern California, which motivated me to start my online exercise program.

What is your top advice for people who are looking to start or improve their exercise program?

One issue that I hear about a lot is shoulder pain. People with spinal injuries tend to use their arms so much for daily activities that they think, “I don’t want to exercise my arms. I use them too much already.” They are rightfully concerned with overuse injuries. My advice is that you definitely do want to exercise – but it’s important to strengthen the muscles on your back that hold the shoulder blades while stretching all of the muscles in the front of you chest and shoulders that get tight, and contribute to those common rotator cuff injuries. This will actually help to decrease pain that you may already have, as well as ward off further deterioration. Also, listen to your body! Don’t exercise yourself into more pain!

What other tips do you have?

Don’t forget that exercise is an important component to overall health, and the best way to prevent further complications that are common after a spinal cord injury. Make the effort to get enough exercise; do whatever you can, and your body will benefit.

How does exercise help other than increasing physical fitness?

There are many studies that show that regular exercise decreases both depression and stress. It’s a great outlet for frustration, much better than some of the alternatives. Exercise can also help decrease the amount of medications you may need, including pain medication, which cause many side effects including constipation.

What exactly does your company, Every Body Fitness, offer?

We are made up of solely online exercise programs. We offer video-on-demand workouts for our subscribers. All of the programs can be adapted to any level of ability or physical limitation. Weights can be added to the workouts once you feel comfortable with the exercises, and want a greater challenge. We have cardio and strengthening workouts for arms only, as well as for the whole body. We also offer adaptive yoga classes and much more!

Who do you help?

The initial concept was developed for those with SCI, but we have since expanded to serve all populations. We are Every Body Fitness – offering fitness for EVERY body! We even offer a voice class for those who have Parkinson’s or dysarthria or aphasia.

If someone wants to try your program, how do they start?

Every Body Fitness offers monthly subscriptions with no fees or contracts. Pricing is available online. As a program member, you can email in questions when you need help, and there are weekly check-ins available with some of our subscriptions for those looking for added motivation.

For more information on Kristin’s online exercise programs and program subscriptions, please visit