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Josie di Natale, Mary Lee, Graham Ward and Roy J. Shephard

The aerobic power and body composition of 18 sightless adolescents (10 males and 8 females) has been tested by standard laboratory techniques. While attending a residential school and participating in specific sessions of vigorous endurance activity at least three times per week, their fitness was comparable to that of normally sighted adolescents (estimated body fat 14.9, 25.3%, directly measured cycle ergometer maximum oxygen intake 51.7, 39.7 ml $$ kg-1 min-1). However, after a 10-week summer vacation spent with their parents, the physical condition of these children had deteriorated to levels previously reported for blind children (estimated body fat 14.7, 27.1%, directly measured maximum oxygen intake 44.9, 33.7 ml $$ kg-1 min-1). It is concluded that sightless students can attain normal levels of fitness for their age if given an adequate and suitably adapted physical activity program. However, if condition is to be maintained, programs should stress patterns of activity suited to the home environment, which typically has no special equipment or trained guides.