Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a strength and aerobic interval training program on arm-cranking economy, aerobic capacity, and gross motor function in children and adolescents with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy (CP).
Methods: Seven subjects (five females, two males; mean age 15.9, range 14-18 yr) participated in a 12-wk aerobic interval and strength training program, three times per week, 70 min per session. The aerobic interval training required the subjects to perform 60-m uphill walking repetitions. Six individuals (four females, two males; mean age 15.7, range 14-17 yr) who did not receive the training program served as controls. Pre- and postexercise tests were performed to assess changes in arm-cranking economy, aerobic capacity, and gross motor function.
Results: The results demonstrated significant (P < 0.05) reductions in the oxygen cost of arm cranking (mean ± SD: pre: 13.2 ± 3.22 mL·kg−1·min−1, post: 12.7 ± 3.38 mL·kg−1·min−1) and %V˙O2peak (pre: 75.8 ± 3.55%, post: 61.8 ± 7.47%) in the training group. Significant (P < 0.05) increases in aerobic capacity (pre: 17.5 ± 4.45 mL·kg−1·min−1, post: 20.8 ± 5.93 mL·kg−1·min−1) were also noted for the training group. Significant (P < 0.05) improvements in gross motor function measures were also noted in the training group (pre: 30.35%, post: 33.85%).
Conclusion: These findings demonstrate that the application of a 12-wk strength and aerobic interval training program reduced the oxygen cost of arm cranking, improved aerobic capacity, and improved gross motor function in children and adolescents with CP.