A simple ergometer modification can expand the exercise options for wheelchair clients

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Purpose. Wheelchair users are by necessity, limited to upper body exercise and have fewer exercise options. An ergometer found in many homes and fitness facilities can be simply adapted for use by those with lower extremity disabilities. This article outlines a novel modification using polyvinyl chloride(PVC) tubing to an existing exercise ergometer. Method. This adapted device was metabolically tested using 9 paraplegics and 8 healthy controls (mean age of 29 years; mean body mass index BMI of 23.5 kg/m2) and found to allow for the attainment of peak exercise by both groups. Results. The mean peak oxygen consumption was VO2peak=22 ml/kg/min (6.3 METS). The mean maximal power output was 103 W and the peak heart rate averaged 157 beats per min. Conclusions. A simple modification to a fitness ergometer (dual action exercise bicycle) can allow for its use by the wheelchair mobile client. The potential impact of this work is that it can expand the exercise options for the wheelchair client who is at risk for many lifestyle-induced chronic diseases. © 2010 Informa UK, Ltd.

Publication Title

Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology