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