A compendium of energy costs of physical activities for individuals who use manual wheelchairs

Adapt Phys Activ Q. 2011 Oct;28(4):310-25. doi: 10.1123/apaq.28.4.310.


The purpose of this study was to develop a compendium of wheelchair-related physical activities. To accomplish this, we conducted a systematic review of the published energy costs of activities performed by individuals who use wheelchairs. A total of 266 studies were identified by a literature search using relevant keywords. Inclusion criteria were studies utilizing individuals who routinely use a manual wheelchair, indirect calorimetry as the criterion measurement, energy expenditure expressed as METs or VO₂, and physical activities typical of wheelchair users. Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria. A total of 63 different wheelchair activities were identified with energy expenditure values ranging from 0.8 to 12.5 kcal·kg-1·hr-1. The energy requirements for some activities differed between individuals who use wheelchairs and those who do not. The compendium of wheelchair-related activities can be used to enhance scoring of physical activity surveys and to promote the benefits of activity in this population.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Wheelchairs*