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The purpose of this study was to develop a compendium of wheelchair-related physical activities. To accomplish this, we conducted a systematic review of the published energy costs of activities performed by individuals who use wheelchairs. A total of 266 studies were identified by a literature search using relevant keywords. Inclusion criteria were studies utilizing individuals who routinely use a manual wheelchair, indirect calorimetry as the criterion measurement, energy expenditure expressed as METs or VO2, and physical activities typical of wheelchair users. Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria. A total of 63 different wheelchair activities were identified with energy expenditure values ranging from 0.8 to 12.5 kcal·kg-1·hr-1. The energy requirements for some activities differed between individuals who use wheelchairs and those who do not. The compendium of wheelchair-related activities can be used to enhance scoring of physical activity surveys and to promote the benefits of activity in this population.
The authors are with the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.