Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology published a longitudinal research study evaluating the associations between fitness components and mobility on 24 children with bilateral cerebral palsy and 22 children with unilateral spastic cerebral palsy.
All of the participants completed aerobic and anaerobic fitness measurements on a cycle ergometer and isometric muscle strength tests (Gross Motor Function Classification System [GMFCS] level I [n=26], level II [n=12], level III [n=8]). The Gross Motor Function Measure and a walking test was completed to evaluate mobility.
The results indicated the following:
1. for the children with bilateral cerebral palsy changes in aerobic fitness were associated with changes in anaerobic fitness, and changes in aerobic fitness showed an association with changes in muscle strength. Anaerobic fitness was not associated with muscle strength.
2. for the children with unilateral cerebral palsy no associations were found between fitness components
3. anaerobic fitness and muscle strength were significant determinants for GMFM and walking capacity in bilateral but not in unilateral cerebral palsy.
The researchers concluded that increasing either aerobic or anaerobic fitness is associated with improvements in mobility in children with bilateral cerebral palsy. In addition, increasing anaerobic fitness might be beneficial for mobility capacity in children with bilateral cerebral palsy, this is less likely for children with unilateral cerebral palsy.
Reference: Balemans, A. et al. Associations between fitness and mobility capacity in school-aged children with cerebral palsy: a longitudinal analysis. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. Article first published online: 12 JAN 2015. DOI: 10.1111/dmcn.12677
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