Energy cost of physical activities in persons with spinal cord injury

Eileen G. Collins, David Gater, Jenny Kiratli, Jolene Butler, Karla Hanson, W. Edwin Langbein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Introduction: The objectives of this descriptive study were (a) to determine the energy expenditure of activities commonly performed by individuals with a spinal cord injury (SCI) and summarize this information and (b) to measure resting energy expenditure and establish the value of 1 MET for individuals with SCI. Methods: One-hundred seventy adults with SCI were partitioned by gender, anatomical level of SCI, and American Spinal Injury Association designations for motor function. Twenty-seven physical activities, 12 recreational/sport and 15 daily living, were performed, while energy expenditure was measured continuously via a COSMED K4b2 portable metabolic system. In addition, 66 adult males with SCI completed 30 min of supineresting energy testing in a quiet environment. Results: Results for the 27 measured activities are reported in kilocalories per minute (kcal·min-1) and V•O2 (mL·min -1 and mL·kg·-1min-1). One MET for a person with SCI should be adjusted using 2.7 mL·kg -1·min-1. Using 2.7 mL·kg -1·min-1, the MET rangefor persons in the motor incomplete SCI group was 1.17 (supported standing) to 6.22 (wheeling on grass), and 2.26 (billiards) to 16.25 (hand cycling) for activities of daily living and fitness/recreation, respectively. The MET range for activities of daily living forpersons in the group with motor complete SCI was 1.27 (dusting) to 4.96 (wheeling on grass) and 1.47 (bait casting) to 7.74 (basketball game) for fitness/recreation. Conclusions: The foundation for a compendium of energy expenditure for physical activities for personswith SCI has been created with the completion of this study. In the future, others will update and expand the content of this compendium as has been the case with the original compendium for the able-bodied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-700
Number of pages10
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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