To determine longitudinal changes in physical capacity and physical strain during activities of daily living (ADL), 37 men with spinal cord injuries (C4/5-L5) performed an exercise test and various ADL on two occasions (T1 and T2; interval 34.5 ± 1.5 months). Parameters of physical capacity were aerobic power (V̇O(2peak) at T2 (1.75 ± 0.55 l · min-1) did not significantly differ from that at T1 (1.67 ± 0.47 l · min-1). Absolute PO(max) improved (P < 0.05) from 64.9 ± 25.9 (T1) to 71.7 ± 27.2 W (T2), whereas relative PO(max) did not change. Activity level, time since injury, change in body mass, and occurrence of rehospitalization were the most important predictors of changes in physical capacity. Changes in relative V̇O(2peak) were related (P < 0.05) to changes in strain during transfers to the shower wheelchair (r = -0.39) and shower seat (r = -0.46), and during the curb ascent (r = -0.47). In conclusion, the hypothesized decline in physical capacity did not occur over the 3-yr period. Maintenance of physical capacity, which may in part be achieved through sport participation and improved medical care, together with avoidance of excessive body mass, may be useful to prevent high levels of strain during ADL.
- ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING
- AEROBIC POWER