The Effects of Wheelchair Camber on Physiological and Perceptual Responses in Younger and Older Men

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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  • 1 University of Alberta
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This study examined the effects of 0, 4, and 8 degrees camber on the physiological and perceptual responses in younger (19-44 years) and older (45-74 years) sedentary, able-bodied men propelling a wheelchair at 2 kmh. Physiological and perceptual (rating of perceived exertion, RPE) responses were monitored using standardized procedures. Significant increases (p < .05) in oxygen uptake, ventilation rate, and heart rate were observed with increasing camber angle. These values were not significantly (p > .05) different between age groups. Central and peripheral RPE was unchanged as a result of camber angle in either group. Central RPE was significantly higher (p < .05) for the older participants at a camber angle of 8 degrees. It was concluded that the physiological stress increases with camber angle during manual wheelchair propulsion at 2 kmh in younger and older men. The higher perceptual stress in older participants could be due to performance at a higher percentage of their maximum physiological capacity.

Shelley M. Buckley and Yagesh N. Bhambhani are both with the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2G4.

The assistance of Sunrise Medical, Calgary, Alberta, for the loan of the Quickie GPS wheelchair is gratefully acknowledged.

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