Refinement of the Arm CAFT Protocol for Assessing Aerobic Fitness in Adults with Mobility Impairments

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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An arm ergometer analog of the Canadian Aerobic Fitness Test (CAFT) has been proposed for subjects with impairments of mobility (Longmuir & Shephard, 1995). Because of muscle weakness or spasm, only 63% of the adults concerned could maintain the required cadence in the original test version. Thus, in the present study it was hypothesized that a reduced crank loading would yield a higher success rate. In a sample of 35 adults with mobility impairment, 82% were able to complete at least one stage of the modified test. Difficulty was encountered mainly by persons with cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. The revised protocol had a high (r = .97) 1-week test/retest reliability, with no test/retest bias except that subjects with brain lesions scored somewhat higher at their second assessment. A scaled prediction of peak oxygen intake using the standard CAFT equation agreed closely with direct arm ergometer determinations of it. The modified test showed a mean discrepancy ±SD of 0.1 ± 4.8 ml/[kg · min]. Further validation is needed, but the current analog of the standard CAFT appears to be useful for many with mobility impairments.

P.E. Longmuir was formerly with Variety Village, Scarborough, Ontario. R.J. Shephard is with the University of Toronto, 320 Huron St., Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 1A1, and with the Health Studies Programme, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON.

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