Randomized controlled trail.
To investigate if people with incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI) can perform high-intensity weight-bearing exercise by comparing cardiovascular responses at maximal workloads during stationary cycling and treadmill walking, and to explore mechanical efficiencies at sub-maximal workloads.
Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital, Nesoddtangen, Norway.
Fifteen people with ... [Show full abstract] incomplete SCI and 15 healthy control subjects performed sub-maximal and maximal exercise tests of both stationary cycling and uphill treadmill walking on separate days. Oxygen uptake (VO2; l min(-1) and ml kg(-1) min(-1)), carbon dioxide production (VCO2; l min(-1)), respiratory exchange ratio (RER) and heart rate (HR) were continuously measured throughout the tests.
The SCI group showed no significant differences in peak VO2 (2.42±0.68 l min(-1) versus 2.58±0.76 l min(-1), P=0.19) or other cardiovascular responses at maximal workloads for stationary cycling as compared with uphill treadmill walking, except for higher RER during the cycle test. The control subjects exhibited a significantly higher peak VO2 during the treadmill test as compared with the cycle test (P=0.007). Both groups had lower mechanical efficiency when walking as compared with cycling, but the mean difference between cycling and walking was not significantly different between the groups during sub-maximal workloads (P >0.24).
Subjects with incomplete SCI were able to perform high-intensity weight-bearing exercise and exhibited similar mechanical efficiencies at sub-maximal workloads as healthy controls. Uphill walking might be a good alternative to weight-bearing exercise for increasing the physical capacity of people with incomplete SCI.Spinal Cord advance online publication, 28 July 2015; doi:10.1038/sc.2015.120.