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SCI guidelines: the Netherlands

In 2017 international scientific guidelines were developed to inform people with spinal cord injury (SCI) how much exercise is necessary for important fitness and health benefits. This page contains information about the guidelines and resources to support their implementation in the Netherlands. For information on resources for other countries please visit the European SCI guidelines webpage.

An international group of 29 researchers, clinicians, community organisations and people with spinal cord injury (SCI) have developed scientific guidelines to inform people with SCI how much exercise is necessary for important fitness and health benefits.

This process was led by Professor Kathleen Martin Ginis (University of British Columbia, Canada) and Professor Vicky Tolfrey (Loughborough University, UK).

The Dutch part of the process was represented by Sonja de Groot, University of Groningen.

The guidelines

Local contacts

If you have any questions or would like to discuss disseminating the guidelines in your area please contact:

Dr Sonja de Groot

Assistant Professor
Senior researcher Reade

Dr Jan van der Scheer

Senior Research Associate

Sonja completed her MSc and PhD in Human Movement Sciences at VU University Amsterdam. Her research focuses on active rehabilitation for people with chronic spinal cord injury. She is the co-ordinator of the research programmes ‘Restoration of mobility in SCI rehabilitation’ and ‘Active Lifestyle Rehabilitation Interventions in persons with chronic Spinal Cord injury’ for the Spinal Cord Injury Investigation Network Netherlands. Sonja is also secretary of the Dutch-Flemish SCI Association research committee. She is currently Senior researcher Reade at the Centre for Rehabilitation and Rheumatology, Amsterdam as well as Assistant professor, Center of Human Movement Sciences, UMCG, University of Groningen.


Jan completed his BSc and MSc in Human Movement Sciences at VU University Amsterdam. He then obtained his PhD in medical/rehabilitation sciences from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Jan’s work focuses on developing guidelines for people with disabilities and their health care providers to benefit from improved fitness, health and wellbeing. As well as working on the dissemination of the international, evidence-based exercise guidelines for people with spinal cord injury Jan has also started working on clinical practice guidelines for functional electrical stimulated cycling for people with SCI and a project to develop recommendations for screening body composition of people with spinal cord injury.


Related resources

Word gezond fit met een dwarslaesie

This infographic translates the scientific exercise guidelines into practice guidelines that can be used by patients and clinicians. The infographic is being used widely among rehabilitation centres with a spinal cord injury unit in the Netherlands. More information on the infographic, as well information about sports clubs for people with a disability and how to become fitter or maintain fitness with a spinal cord injury can be found on the Dutch Patient Organization website

“Als je fit bent, kun je meer aan”

“If you are fit, you can do more”

In this interview with Coloplast in the Netherlands, Dr Sonja de Groot highlights the spinal cord injury exercise guidelines and how much physical activity people with SCI are recommended to do. She also discusses ways in which people can become more active and the benefits they may see.

Hoe blijf je fit met een dwarslaesie

Hoe blijf je fit met een dwarslaesie (How to say fit with an SCI) is a book that gives both practical advice and a theoretical background about how to stay fit despite having a spinal cord injury. It deals with the barriers people with a spinal cord injury may face to becoming more active and includes interviews with experts.