South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation

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Effects of exercise training on performance and function in individuals with cerebral palsy: A critical review

Phoebe Runciman, Ross Tucker, Suzanne Ferreira, Yumna Albertus-Kajee, Wayne Wayne Derman


This critical review article describes the exercise performance capabilities, and the effect of exercise training interventions, in individuals with cerebral palsy (CP). A literature search was conducted using PubMed, Medline, Embase, Scopus, Web of Science, Science Direct and Google Scholar databases from the earliest possible date to December 2014. Large impairments in exercise performance have been reported in individuals with CP, as well as large improvements following the implementation of training interventions. The physiology underlying the functional and physical impairments in CP were also reviewed, and grouped into categories, namely: motor impairments, central impairment, skeletal muscle morphology and physical inactivity. Although much research exists on individuals with CP, there is conflicting evidence for the benefits of exercise training in these individuals. This is due to the use of sedentary, paediatric populations and varied methodologies. Investigating individuals who have undergone high-volume exercise training from a young age might result in a better understanding of functional and physical performance in individuals with CP.

Key words: Disability; Physical activity; Rehabilitation; Physiology.

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