Energy expenditure and muscle activity during lying, sitting, standing, and walking in people with motor-incomplete spinal cord injury

Bart Dekker, Olaf Verschuren, Astrid C. J. Balemans, Nadia Baart, Frank Tubbing, Casper F. van Koppenhagen, Marcel W. M. Post

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Study design: Cross-sectional exploratory study. Objectives: To determine oxygen uptake (VO2), energy expenditure (EE), and muscle activity (MA) during lying (rest), sitting, standing, and walking among ambulatory individuals with spinal cord Injury (SCI) and to compare VO2, EE, and MA between individuals with different levels of ambulation. Setting: Rehabilitation institution with a spinal cord injury unit. Methods: A total of 22 adults with motor-incomplete SCI, ten in a low-ambulation group (non-functional or household walker) and 12 in a high-ambulation group (community or normal walker). VO2 was measured using indirect calorimetry. EE was expressed in metabolic equivalent of task (MET). MA was measured using a wireless surface electromyography device. Results: Mean VO2 was 3.19 ml/kg/min. During lying and sitting, EE was below 1.5 METs for all participants. During standing, three participants of the low-ambulation group and none in the high-ambulation group showed MET values of >1.5. In the walking condition, all participants showed MET values above 1.5. MA during stance was higher compared to the sitting condition and significantly higher in the low-ambulation group compared to the high-ambulation group. Conclusion: Lying, supported- and unsupported sitting, without moving, appear to be sedentary behaviors for ambulatory individuals with a motor-incomplete SCI (MET values of <1.5 and a lack of MA). Walking, but not standing, is a moderate physical activity (>1.5 METs), which can be used by all individuals with motor-incomplete SCI to interrupt sedentary behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1008-1016
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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