During the last 15 years a growing number of persons with mental retardation (MR) have been relocated from large congregate facilities to residences in the community. With this trend comes the realization that exercise specialists employed in community based fitness centers will have to address the needs of a growing number of adults with MR who are beginning to access these facilities. Since adults with MR present themselves as a unique group in terms of their cognitive and physical function, this paper will address specific exercise guidelines that must be considered when developing cardiovascular fitness programs for this population.
James H. Rimmer
People with newly acquired and existing disability have one of the highest rates of physical inactivity compared with any other subgroup in the United States. For more than 50 million Americans with disabilities, lack of regular exercise increases their risk for developing the health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Professionals in rehabilitation and exercise science must join forces in promoting higher levels of physical activity among people with newly acquired or existing disability after they are discharged from rehabilitation. Establishing a strong and cohesive relationship between rehabilitation providers and exercise professionals at the ‘infection point’ when rehabilitation ends and sustainable exercise must begin will capture individual awareness and knowledge of how and why extending the recovery process into community-based exercise facilities has substantial potential for improving their health and quality of life.
Karen Kunde and James H. Rimmer
The purpose was to compare heart rates and completion times of adults with MR after performing a 1-mi walk test with and without a pacer. Fifteen participants (8 males, 7 females) with mild or moderate mental retardation (M age = 38.8 years ± 10.2) performed the test a minimum of two times with a pacer and two times without a pacer. Analysis of variance revealed no significant difference between genders; thus data were combined for further analysis. Intraclass reliability coefficients (R) for walk time with a pacer, walk time without a pacer, heart rate with a pacer, and heart rate without a pacer were .99, .99, .91, and .95, respectively. Results indicated that the average walk times for the pacer and no pacer conditions were significantly different, t (14) = 3.11, p = .008. The pacer condition resulted in a faster average walk time by approximately 1 min; however, there was no significant difference between conditions on heart rate. Therefore, it is recommended that, when having adults with MR perform a walk test, a pacer should be used to assure maximum performance.
James H. Rimmer, David Braddock and Glenn Fujiura
A body mass index (BMI) greater than 27 has been cited as a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes mellitus resulting from excess weight. The purpose of this study was to determine the association between BMI (>27) and two other obesity indices–height-weight and percent body fat–as well as to investigate the relationship between BMI and three blood lipid parameters–total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) in 329 adults with mental retardation (MR). Males were significantly taller and heavier than females, but females had a significantly higher BMI. Kendall’s Tau-C revealed a significant association between BMI and each of the following: height-weight, percent body fat, LDL-C, and HDL-C. However, there were a significant number of false negatives and false positives on each of the criteria. The congruence between at-risk BMI and two other obesity parameters (height-weight and percent body fat) in a population of adults with MR is not strong. Professionals should employ the BMI along with skinfold measures to assess a person’s at-risk status for excess weight.
Suzanne C. Hoeppner and James H. Rimmer
The purpose of this study was to determine if self-reported exercise status (exercise, nonexercise) and ambulatory status (aid, no aid) discriminate between balance performance and balance self-efficacy of older adults, ages 65 to 95 years. Participants were 14 males and 46 females in a retirement home that contained a supervised fitness center. An activities-specific balance confidence scale and three balance performance tests yielded data. Data from males and females were combined because independent t tests revealed no significant gender differences. The Mann Whitney U test revealed that (a) exercisers (M age = 83.4) scored significantly higher than nonexercisers (M age = 83.7) on all measures, and (b) nonaid users (M age = 83.5) scored significantly higher than aid users (M age = 83.7). Findings indicate that regular exercise (at least 30 min per day, 3 days per week) and ambulation without a cane or walker are descriptors of older adults with good balance performance and high balance self-efficacy.
Mieke G. Wasner and James H. Rimmer
This study evaluated nontherapeutic exercise programs offered in senior living facilities (SLFs), which included nursing homes, licensed and nonlicensed continuing care retirement communities, and senior independent living apartments. Exercise programs were evaluated on five criteria: number of different classes offered, instructors’ employment titles, exercise setting, program staffing levels, and amount and type of exercise equipment. Data revealed that chair exercises were the most common form of exercise, followed by stretching and supervised walking. The majority of exercise leaders were employed full-time (60%) but did not have degrees in exercise science, physical education, nursing, or physical therapy. Programs were mainly offered in multipurpose rooms or in other areas such as dining rooms, hallways, or lounges. Less than 27% of the SLFs followed American College of Sports Medicine exercise guidelines. This study found little consistency in the type of exercise programs offered to older adults in SLFs. Future research should evaluate the effectiveness of exercise classes offered in these facilities.
James H. Rimmer, Dave Braddock and Glenn Fujiura
Little data exist on the comparison of blood lipids and percent body fat between Down Syndrome and non-DS adults with mental retardation (MR). The following study was undertaken to determine if there were physiological and biochemical differences between these two groups. Subjects included 294 non-DS adults with MR (162 males and 132 females) and 31 adults with Down Syndrome (21 males and 10 females). Level of mental retardation was similar for both groups (males/females, Down vs. non-DS). A two-factor ANOVA with a regression approach was used to analyze the data. Results of the study found that there were no significant differences between the Down Syndrome and non-DS subjects on total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, or percent body fat. The present study suggests that the composition of lipoproteins and storage of body fat are similar in Down Syndrome and non-DS adults with mental retardation, and that the risk for developing coronary heart disease appears to be the same for both groups.
James H. Rimmer and Luke E. Kelly
Very low levels of strength and muscular endurance have been reported in adults with mental retardation. A progressive resistance training program was developed for a group of adults with mental retardation (ages 23-49 yrs) using state-of-the-art equipment (Nautilus Isokinetic Systems). A MANCOVA analysis was employed to determine the differences between control and experimental groups. The analysis revealed a significant overall group effect. Subsequent univariate ANCOVA analyses were performed to isolate the significant dependent measures. Results indicated that a 2-day-a-week resistance training program was effective in improving the strength levels of this population. It was also revealed that the resistance training program was favorably received by the participants and could be performed with minimal assistance. Service providers for the mentally retarded should consider community based weight training facilities as a viable avenue for improving the strength levels of this population.
Luke E. Kelly and James H. Rimmer
The subjects were 170 moderately and severely mentally retarded men who were divided into two groups. The first group was used to formulate a new prediction equation and the second group was used to cross-validate and ascertain the stability of the derived equation. The prediction equation, employing waist and forearm circumferences, height and weight as predictors, and estimated percent body fat calculated by the generalized regression equation of Jackson and Pollock (1978) as the criterion measure, was formulated using a stepwise multiple regression analysis. A multiple R value of .86 was obtained for the derived equation with a standard error of estimate value of 3.35. The equation was cross-validated on the second sample to ascertain its stability. An r of .81 and a standard error of estimate of 4.41 was obtained between the subjects’ estimated percent body fat, using the new equation, and the criterion measure. This simplified equation provides practitioners with an accurate, reliable, and inexpensive method of estimating percent body fat for adult mentally retarded males.
James H. Rimmer and Luke E. Kelly
The purpose of this pilot study was to descriptively evaluate the effects of three different programs on the development of gross motor skills of preschool children with learning disabilities (n = 29). No attempt was made to equate the groups or control for differences between the programs or instructional staff. Two of the programs were used by the respective schools to develop the gross motor skills of their audience. The programs were called occupational therapy (OT) (45–60 min/day, 5 days/week) and adapted physical education (APE) (30 min/day, 4 days/week). A third group was evaluated to determine whether maturational effects had any involvement in gross motor development. This group was called the noninstructional program (NIP) (30 min/day, 2 days/week) and was solely involved in free play. The programs were all in session for the entire school year (33–35 weeks). The results of the study revealed that the children in the APE program made more significant gains across objectives, and particularly on the qualitative measures, than did the children in the OT or NIP groups.