Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About usNews and EventsEvents and open daysPhD ceremonies

Low-intensity wheelchair training in inactive people with long-term spinal cord injury

PhD ceremony:Mr J.W. (Jan) van der Scheer
When:March 18, 2015
Start:12:45
Supervisors:prof. dr. L.H.V. (Lucas) van der Woude, H.E.J. Veeger
Co-supervisor:dr. S. (Sonja) de Groot
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Medical Sciences / UMCG
Low-intensity wheelchair training in inactive people with long-term
spinal cord injury

Muscle paralysis and wheelchair dependence makes it difficult for many people with spinal cord injury to be physically active and fit. This can lead to health problems and problems in daily functioning. Fitness of people with spinal cord injury can improve through training at a relatively vigorous exercise intensity, but this may be too burdening for physically inactive people with long-term spinal cord injury. Training at a low intensity could also have positive effects on fitness; risk of overuse is possibly lower and it might be easier to adhere to. These assumptions were evaluated in this thesis. The aim was to investigate the effects of low-intensity wheelchair training in physically inactive people with a spinal cord injury for longer than 10 years. Study participants were randomly allocated to an exercise group or a non-exercising control group. The 16-week training consisted twice a week wheelchair propulsion on a treadmill at an intensity of about 30-40% of the maximal capacity. Contrary to expectations, the exercise group showed little or no training effects in fitness, wheelchair skills, physical activity and technique of wheelchair propulsion. Substantial training effects may require more frequent exercise or different exercise forms, which are topics for further research. It appears difficult to find effective and feasible training for physically inactive people with long-term spinal cord injury. These findings emphasize the need to focus on prevention of physical inactivity and deconditioning in people with spinal cord injury.