A fitness program for children with disabilities.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: This case report describes a fitness program for children with disabilities and provides preliminary information about the safety and feasibility of the program.

CASE DESCRIPTION: Nine children, 5 to 9 years of age with physical or other developmental disabilities, participated in a 14-week group exercise program held 2 times per week followed by a 12-week home exercise program. Energy expenditure index, leg strength (force-generating capacity of muscle), functional skills, fitness, self-perception, and safety were measured before intervention, after the group exercise program, and again after the home exercise program.

OUTCOMES: No injuries occurred, and improvements in many of the outcome measures were observed. More improvements were observed after the group exercise program than after the home program, and adherence was better during the group exercise program.

DISCUSSION: This case report demonstrates that a group exercise program of strength and endurance training may be a safe and feasible option for children with disabilities. Further research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of a group fitness program and optimal training parameters.