[en] aerobic fitness field test ; cardiorespiratory fitness ; exercise testing ; lower-limb disabled ; wheelchair mobility
[en] An incremental multistage field test (MFT) for wheelchair users was developed to evaluate physical fitness and predict peak oxygen consumption (VO2). Using auditory feedback, the participants (n = 37) were directed to wheel around an octagonal course, increasing their velocity every minute until exhaustion. Wheelchair velocity and metabolic parameters were recorded with the use of a speedometer and a portable spirometer system. The average number of exercise levels performed (MFT score) was 9.17 +/- 5.81, resulting in a peak heart rate (HR) of 99.0 +/- 13.9% of the theoretical maximum. A test-retest analysis (n = 10) showed that the MFT was reliable regarding MFT score, peak VO2, and peak HR reached. Stepwise multiple regression based on individual, wheelchair, propulsion technique, and physiological parameters revealed that the MFT score was the best and only predictor of peak VO2 (mL/min/kg) (= 18.03 + 0.78 MFT score, r(2) = 0.59). The MFT assesses wheelchair mobility and estimates peak VO2 encountered during the test.