The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety, adherence, and estimates of effect of an aerobic exercise program in specialist schools for young people with cerebral palsy.
Nineteen students with cerebral palsy were randomly allocated to an intervention group who completed an aerobic exercise program (27 sessions over nine weeks) or a control group who completed social/art activities over the same time. There were no serious adverse events and the exercise program was completed with high rates of attendance (77%) and adherence to target heart rate zones (79%). Effect sizes favored the intervention group for measures of cardiovascular performance (sub-maximal treadmill test, effect size d = 0.7; muscle power sprint test, d = 0.9) and participation (Preference for Active-Physical Activities, d = 0.6).
An aerobic exercise program in specialist schools for young people with cerebral palsy, that may improve measures of cardiovascular performance, can be completed safely, with moderately high levels of adherence.