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Physical Fitness and GMFM Scores

Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology published research on the relationship of physical fitness and Gross Motor Function Measure scores in children with cerebral palsy (45 with hemiplegia and 23 with spastic diplegia). The study results indicated no relationship between aerobic capacity and body mass index and sections D (standing) and E (walking, running and jumping) on the GMFM. There was a moderate to high correlation between short term muscle power, agility, functional muscle strength and sections D and E on the GMFM. The authors conclude that this correlation can help to guide treatment planning to improve motor capacity in children with cerebral palsy.

Again, we see that muscle power and strength correlate with function in children with cerebral palsy. Always keep this in mind when working with children with cerebral palsy – increasing muscle strength can translate into improved function. Give parents simple activities to carry out during the day that will help to maximize muscle strengthening i.e. stair climbing, heavy work chores, etc. Try making muscle strengthening fun for children. Foster games and activities that children will want to participate in instead of just basic therapeutic exercises.

I was surprised to see that body mass index and aerobic capacity did not effect motor abilities.

Visit www.YourTherapySource.com/playstrong for an electronic activity book on muscle strengthening through play. For simple activities to carry out during the day check out Therapeutic Activities for Home and School at www.YourTherapySource.com/therexbook.

Reference: OLAF VERSCHUREN, MARJOLIJN KETELAAR, JAN WILLEM GORTER, PAUL J M HELDERS, TIM TAKKEN Relation between physical fitness and gross motor capacity in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology
2009 1469-8749 PN: 0012-1622 DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2009.03301.x US: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8749.2009.03301.x