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BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2016 May 9;2(1):e000111. eCollection 2016.

High-intensity interval training to improve fitness in children with cerebral palsy.

Author information

1
Rosenborg Physiotherapy Clinic , Trondheim , Norway.
2
Department of Laboratory Medicine , Children and Women's Health , NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology , Trondheim, Norway.
3
Department of Orthopedic Surgery , St. Olav's Hospital , Trondheim , Norway.
4
Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging , NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology , Trondheim , Norway.
5
Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway; Women's Clinic, St. Olav's Hospital, Trondheim, Norway.

Abstract

AIM:

To evaluate effects of high-intensity interval training (HIT) on aerobic exercise capacity, quality of life, and body composition in children with cerebral palsy (CP).

METHODS:

This was a baseline control trial. Children with CP, Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) levels I-IV, and age 10-17 years were included. The primary outcome, peak, and submaximum oxygen uptake (VO2peak, VO2submax) were measured at enrolment to the study (T0), after a pretraining period (T1), and after HIT (T2). Secondary outcomes were quality of life assessed with the KINDL questionnaire, and body composition measured using whole body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scanning. The exercise was performed on treadmills and consisted of 24 sessions, each with a total of 16 min of exercise at >85% of maximal heart rate.

RESULTS:

20 children were included and 6 children dropped out. VO2peak increased by 10%, from a median of 37.3 (31.0-40.1) to 41.0 (36.6-48.5) mL/kg/min from T1 to T2 (p<0.01). VO2submax did not change; thereby, the percentage oxygen utilisation was reduced. Body composition was unchanged. Parent-reported quality of life improved, whereas quality of life reported by the children did not improve.

CONCLUSIONS:

Aerobic exercise capacity improved and per cent utilisation of VO2max declined after HIT in children with CP. Therefore, HIT can be a time efficient way to improve maximal capacity, and increase energy reserve in this patient group.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:

NCT00965133.

KEYWORDS:

Aerobic fitness; Exercise rehabilitation; Quality of life

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