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Pediatric Physical Therapy:

Evaluation of a Community Fitness Program for Adolescents with Cerebral Palsy.

Darrah, Johanna PhD, PT; Wessel, Jean PhD, PT; Nearingburg, Patricia PhD, PE; O'Connor, Marjorie BEd, PE

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A community fitness program for adolescents with cerebral palsy was evaluated. Twenty-three subjects (mean age, 14.2 yr) completed a program of aerobics, strength training, and stretching three times a week for 10 weeks. They were tested three times before training, once at the end of the training, and again 10 weeks after training, on the following outcome measures: 1) energy expenditure index (EEI); 2) heart rate (HR) while cycling at a submaximal load; 3) isometric strength of shoulder flexors, knee extensors, and hip extensors and abductors; and 4) flexibility using the sit-and-reach test, the behind-the-back reach test, and intermalleolar distance. Perceived competence was measured before and after the program. Significant changes (p < 0.01) from pretest to posttest occurred in muscle strength and perception of physical appearance. A community fitness program can influence muscle strength and perceived competence in adolescents with CP; more rigorous training may be necessary to change exercise efficiency.

(C) 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


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