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J Exerc Rehabil. 2016 Apr 26;12(2):124-31. doi: 10.12965/jer.1632552.276. eCollection 2016 Apr.

Metabolic, cardiorespiratory, and neuromuscular fitness performance in children with cerebral palsy: A comparison with healthy youth.

Author information

1
Universidad Europea de Madrid, Madrid, Spain; Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida, México.
2
Universidad Europea de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
3
Hospital Universitario Niño Jesús, Madrid, Spain.
4
The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, USA.
5
Universidad Europea de Madrid, Madrid, Spain; Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida, México; University of Greenwich, London, UK.
6
Hospital Universitario Niño Jesús, Madrid, Spain; Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Science, Center for Advanced Studies University La Salle, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain; Research Group on Movement and Behavioral Science and Study of Pain, Center for Advanced Studies University La Salle, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess metabolic, cardiorespiratory, and neuromuscular fitness parameters in children with spastic cerebral palsy (CP) and to compare these findings with typically developing children. 40 children with CP (21 males, 19 females; mean age, 11.0±3.3 yr; range, 6.5-17.1 yr; Gross Motor Function Classification System levels 1 or 2) and 40 healthy, age- and sex-matched children completed a test battery that consisted of 8 tests and 28 measures that assessed cardio-respiratory fitness, energy expenditure, anaerobic endurance, muscle strength, agility, stability and flexibility. Children with CP had significantly lower performance (P<0.05) on most cardiorespiratory and metabolic tests than those of healthy children, Differences in neuromuscular measures of muscular strength, speed, agility, anaerobic endurance, and flexibility between groups were most apparent. Grouped differences in cardiorespiratory variables revealed a 25% difference in performance, whereas grouped differences in metabolic and neuromuscular measures were 43% and 60%, respectively. The physical fitness of contemporary children with CP is significantly less than healthy, age-matched children. Significant differences in neuromuscular measures between groups can aid in the identification of specific fitness abilities in need of improvement in this population.

KEYWORDS:

Agility; Cerebral palsy; Child; Flexibility; Physical fitness; Strength

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