The cardiorespiratory function of paraplegic individuals using a wheelchair can be roughly assessed by using the 12 minute wheel distance test.


12-Minute Wheel Distance Test Instructions:

(1) Go to a 200 or 400 meter sports track.

(2) The subject should be wearing comfortable, nonbinding clothing.

(3) The patient should be instructed about the test, and the need for proper pacing emphasized.

(4) A 5-10 minute warm-up should be performed.

(5) The patient is to go around the track as many times as possible in a 12 minute period.

(6) During the test the subject should be encouraged for maximum effort and the time for each lap given.

(7) The completed distance should be recorded.


Interpretation for Physically Disabled Male Subjects

Distance in Meters

Fitness Level

maximum oxygen consumption in mL per kg per minute

< 999


< 12

1,000 - 1,399


13 - 17

1,400 - 1,699


18 - 28

1,700 - 1,999


28 - 35

> 2,000


> 36



• The test may not serve predict the fitness level of quadraplegic patients.

• The test depends on maximum effort on the part of the subject for accurate results.

• Differences in course surface, lap distance, conditions, wheelchairs and other factors can affect the results of the test.


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