2014 Volume 90 Issue 6 Pages 221-225
This study examined the effect of using a pedal wheelchair on counteracting a further decline in walking ability of the elderly. The study conducted over a period of six weeks investigated the changes in walking ability of elderly persons in the initial stage of using a wheelchair, being able to walk independently with the help of a walking stick or another aid (primarily those corresponding to nursing care level 1 or 2). Intervention of these participants revealed that a group that continuously exercised on a pedal wheelchair tended to be able to walk a certain distance in a shorter time than a control group involved solely in regular rehabilitation activities. The effect of using a pedal wheelchair began to appear at four weeks and thereafter. At six weeks, the pedal wheelchair group took significantly less time to walk the given distance than the control group. The results suggest that adding a pedal wheelchair exercise to regular rehabilitation programs has the effect of not only preventing a further decline in patients' walking ability but also improving this ability.