OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effects of low-intensity wheelchair training on wheelchair-specific fitness, wheelchair skill performance and physical activity levels in inactive people with long-term spinal cord injury.
DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.
PARTICIPANTS: Inactive manual wheelchair users with spinal cord injury for at least 10 years (n = 29), allocated to exercise (n = 14) or no exercise.
METHODS: The 16-week training consisted of wheelchair treadmill-propulsion at 30-40% heart rate reserve or equi-valent in terms of rate of perceived exertion, twice a week, for 30 min per session. Wheelchair-specific fitness was determined as the highest 5-s power output over 15-m overground wheelchair sprinting (P5-15m), isometric push-force, submaximal fitness and peak aerobic work capacity. Skill was determined as performance time, ability and strain scores over a wheelchair circuit. Activity was determined using a questionnaire and an odometer.
RESULTS: Significant training effects appeared only in P5-15m (exercise vs control: mean +2.0 W vs -0.7 W, p = 0.017, ru=0.65).
CONCLUSION: The low-intensity wheelchair training appeared insufficient for substantial effects in the sample of inactive people with long-term spinal cord injury, presumably in part owing to a too-low exercise frequency. Effective yet feasible and sustainable training, as well as other physical activity programmes remain to be developed for inactive people with long-term spinal cord injury.
- Exercise Tolerance
- Middle Aged
- Motor Activity
- Physical Fitness
- Sedentary Behavior
- Spinal Cord Injuries/rehabilitation