Background: There is a plethora of literature with some conflicting findings on the effects of implementing strength and/or aerobic (fitness) training to improve motor function of children with spastic cerebral palsy (CP).
Purpose: This aim of the study was to investigate the effects of a circuit training regimen on static and dynamic motor function of children diagnosed to have spastic CP.
Materials and Methods: This is a pilot quasi-experimental study on children with spastic CP (aged 6-11 y; 7 males and 3 females) who underwent a circuit exercise training program (combined endurance and strength training) for 6 weeks. Changes in static (standing) and dynamic (jumping, running, walking) motor function were assessed by dimensions D and E of the Gross Motor Function Measure (GMFM) scale, respectively. In addition, walking capacity was also assessed using the 30 s walk test. The Wilcoxon Signed Rank test was used to compare pre- vs. post-intervention scores.
Results: There was an increase in static and dynamic motor function scores in the GMFM scale of children with spastic CP by 9 % (p = 0.005). An increase of 18.5 cm was found in the walking distance following intervention (p = 0.005).
Conclusion: Circuit training used in the current study might increase standing as well as jumping, walking, and running abilities of children with spastic CP. However, randomized clinical trials are warranted to confirm these findings.
Key words: Cerebral Palsy, Gross motor function, Walking ability, Strength training, Endurance training