The Effects of Acute Intense Physical Exercise on Postural Stability in Children With Cerebral Palsy

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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  • 1 Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
  • | 2 University of Toronto
  • | 3 Laval University
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This study evaluated the effects of intense physical exercise on postural stability of children with cerebral palsy (CP). Center of pressure (CoP) was measured in 9 typically developing (TD) children and 8 with CP before and after a maximal aerobic shuttle-run test (SRT) using a single force plate. Anteroposterior and mediolateral sway velocities, sway area, and sway regularity were calculated from the CoP data and compared between pre- and postexercise levels and between groups. Children with CP demonstrated significantly higher pre-SRT CoP velocities than TD children in the sagittal (18.6 ± 7.6 vs. 6.75 1.78 m/s) and frontal planes (15.4 ± 5.3 vs. 8.04 ± 1.51 m/s). Post-SRT, CoP velocities significantly increased for children with CP in the sagittal plane (27.0 ± 1.2 m/s), with near-significant increases in the frontal plane (25.0 ± 1.5m/s). Similarly, children with CP evidenced larger sway areas than the TD children both pre- and postexercise. The diminished postural stability in children with CP after short but intense physical exercise may have important implications including increased risk of falls and injury.

Leineweber ( and Andrysek are with the Bloorview Research Inst., Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto, Canada. Wyss and Zabjek are with the Inst. of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Canada. Dufour, Gane, Bouyer, Maltais, and Voisin are with the Interdisciplinary Center of Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration, Laval University, Québec City, Canada.