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Predicting energy expenditure through hand rim propulsion power output in individuals who use wheelchairs
  1. Scott A Conger,
  2. Stacy N Scott,
  3. David R Bassett Jr
  1. Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Scott A Conger, Department of Kinesiology, Boise State University, 1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725-1710, USA; scottconger{at}


Aim To examine the relationship between hand rim propulsion power and energy expenditure (EE) during wheelchair wheeling and to investigate whether adding other variables to the model could improve on the prediction of EE.

Methods Individuals who use manual wheelchairs (n=14) performed five different wheeling activities in a wheelchair with a PowerTap power meter hub built into the right rear wheel. Activities included wheeling on a smooth, level surface at three different speeds (4.5, 5.5 and 6.5 km/h), wheeling on a rubberised track at one speed (5.5 km/h) and wheeling on a sidewalk course that included uphill and downhill segments at a self-selected speed. EE was measured using a portable indirect calorimetry system. Stepwise linear regression was performed to predict EE from power output variables. A repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to compare the measured EE to the estimates from the power models. Bland-Altman plots were used to assess the agreement between the criterion values and the predicted values.

Results EE and power were significantly correlated (r=0.694, p<0.001). Regression analysis yielded three significant prediction models utilising measured power; measured power and speed; and measured power, speed and heart rate. No significant differences were found between measured EE and any of the prediction models.

Conclusion EE can be accurately and precisely estimated based on hand rim propulsion power. These results indicate that power could be used as a method to assess EE in individuals who use wheelchairs.

  • Physical activity measurement

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