Background: Physical deconditioning and inactivity following spinal cord injury (SCI) are associated with multiple cardiometabolic risks. To mitigate cardiometabolic risk, exercise is recommended, but it is poorly established whether arm cycling exercise (ACE) or functional electrical stimulation (FES) leg cycling yields superior benefits. Objectives: To determine the adaptations of 16 weeks of FES cycling and ACE on exercise energy expenditure (EEE), cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), and obesity after SCI. Methods: Thirteen physically untrained individuals were randomly assigned to FES (n = 6) or ACE (n = 7) exercise 5 days/week for 16 weeks. Pre- and post-intervention EEE, peak oxygen consumption (absolute and relative VO2Peak), and work were assessed using indirect calorimetry, while body composition was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Results: Main effects were found for peak power (p < .001), absolute (p = .046) and relative (p = .042) VO2Peak, and peak work (p = .013). Compared to baseline, the ACE group increased in EEE (+85%, p = .002), peak power (+307%, p < .001), VO2Peak (absolute +21%, relative +22%, p ≤ .024), peak work (19% increase, p = .003), and total body fat decreased (-6%, p = .05). The FES group showed a decrease in percentage body fat mass (-5%, p = .008). The ACE group had higher EEE (p = .008), peak power (p < .001), and relative VO2Peak (p = .025) compared to postintervention values in the FES group. Conclusion: In the current study, ACE induced greater increases in EEE and CRF, whereas ACE and FES showed similar results on body fat. Exercise promotional efforts targeting persons with SCI should use both FES and ACE to reduce sedentary behavior and to optimize different health parameters after SCI.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Clinical Neurology