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Sunday, 10 April 2016

Exercise and burning calories

BBC Ouch have some really interesting podcasts about disabilities. This morning, I listened to one about a news article. Some clever chap had suggested that chocolate bar wrappers should have icons to show how many minutes you would have to walk, run or swim for, to burn off the bar of chocolate. The people who do the podcast were sharing their opinions on this.

It got me thinking about how wheelchair exercise compares with able-bodied exercise and being me, I did a search for studies on this matter... and I found this one:

They did a study of other people's studies (that's what makes an academic) of wheelchair exercise and they explain how many calories you burn for different activities. I've just picked a few that interested me.

Here's some information from the table:


So just sitting in my wheelchair, resting, I burn up 0.8 kcals per kg of my weight per hour. Now I rarely do anything for a full hour, so I worked it out per minute and found that I burn 1.4 calories per minute, just by sitting on my backside.

I found the different categories of wheeling interesting. Personally, I think wheeling on carpet is much more tiring than wheeling outside. Wheeling around a supermarket or shopping centre is probably the easiest surface and I would burn 3.85 calories per minute by doing this. So for a 30 minute shop, I'd burn 115.5 calories. Not bad for retail therapy!

My favourite exercise is going for walks in the park or around the sea front. That would be outdoor wheeling and works out at 4.55 calories per minute. So for a 45 minute walk, I would burn 204.75 calories.

I agree that grass is serious stuff and the most I am likely to do is 5 minutes. That would consume 35 calories but leave me exhausted. So I think I'll stick to shopping and going to the park. It seems the most beneficial and I enjoy it.

Just out of interest, not that I know anyone who does this, but Nordic sit-skiing uses the most of all activities, at 11.8 kcals/kg/hour. That would be 20.65 calories per minute for me. I couldn't find one for downhill sit-skiing but I'm hoping to have my first lesson soon. Even if it only burns half that amount, it would still be great exercise!

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