A community-based exercise program for ambulant adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy, a feasibility study
van der Linden, Marietta
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Zanudin, A., Mercer, T., Samaan, C., Jagadamma, K., McKelvie, G. & van der Linden, M. (2021) A community-based exercise program for ambulant adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy, a feasibility study. European Journal of Adapted Physical Activity (In Press).
The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility of an 18-week exercise program for adolescents and young adults with cerebral palsy (CP). Fourteen individuals aged 16-25 (GMFCS I-III) performed aerobic and strength exercises at their community leisure center up to three times a week. A physiotherapist provided instruction at the first session and between 2-4 times thereafter. The fitness instructor on duty provided supervision when required. Feasibility of the exercise program was explored through an exercise logbook and participant feedback survey. Gross motor function, muscle strength, aerobic capacity and Timed Up and Go test were assessed at baseline, 6, 12 and 18 weeks and quality of life and self-esteem at baseline and 12 weeks. Participants completed on average 14.8 (range 5-23) weeks of the exercise program and an average of 31 (range 10-52) sessions. The feedback survey indicated that the exercise program was mostly well accepted, adverse effects were reported by three participants. Moderate effects (d=0.57-0.64) were found for leg muscle strength increase at week 12. Other measures showed small or negligible effects. This study indicated the feasibility of a community exercise program for young people with CP and provides recommendations for sustainable exercise programs for this group.