Research: Energy Expenditure, Body Composition & Rehabilitation

Research Paper Title

Energy Expenditure and Changes in Body Composition during Exercise-based Rehabilitation.


Exercise-based rehabilitation programmes have formed the cornerstone of the treatment currently delivered at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) based at Headley Court. Increased operational activity in recent years has meant a concomitant increase in the pressure on Defence rehabilitation resources and a greater need for effective rehabilitation strategies. The aim of this research was to assess the effects of exercise-based rehabilitation on energy expenditure and body composition.


A group of nine male volunteers (30±2.4 years) serving with the Armed Forces and suffering from a variety of musculoskeletal lower limb injuries underwent 17 days of exercise-based rehabilitation. Total daily energy expenditure (TEE) was assessed using a portable combined heart rate monitor/accelerometer (Actiheart). Changes in body composition were assessed using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA).


Mean TEE over the entire admission period was 2915±53 kcal/day with no significant difference in TEE observed between training week 1 (W1) and 2 (W2). However, a strong trend towards increased TEE in W1 was observed (p=0.06). No significant change was observed in fat mass (FM), lean body mass (LBM) or body-fat percentage despite the exercise-based rehabilitation programme.


These results suggest that 17 days of exercise-based rehabilitation is insufficient to observe significant changes in body composition, despite high energy expenditure.

Source: Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 2013;159:30-34.


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