This study assessed physical fitness and its relationships with everyday physical activity (PA) and fatigue in cerebral palsy (CP). Participants were 42 adults with ambulatory bilateral spastic CP (mean age 36.4 ± 5.8 years; 69% males; 81% with good gross motor functioning). Progressive maximal aerobic cycle tests determined VO2peak(L/min). Objective levels of everyday PA were measured with accelerometry and self-reported levels of everyday PA with the Physical Activity Scale for Individuals with Physical Disabilities. Fatigue was assessed with the Fatigue Severity Scale. The average aerobic capacity of adults with CP was 77% of Dutch reference values. Participants were physically active during 124min/day (85% of Dutch reference values), and half experienced fatigue. In women, lower physical fitness was related to lower self-reported levels of PA (Rp=0.61, P=0.03), and in men to higher levels of fatigue (Rp=-0.37, P=0.05). Other relationships were not significant. Results suggest that ambulatory adults with CP have low levels of physical fitness, are less physically active than able-bodied age mates and often experience fatigue. We found little evidence for relationships between the level of physical fitness and everyday PA or fatigue.

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Keywords Cerebral palsy, Fatigue, Motor activity, Physical fitness
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Nieuwenhuijsen, C., van der Slot, W.M.A., Dallmeijer, A.J., Janssens, P.J., Stam, H.J., Roebroeck, M.E., & van den Berg-Emons, H.J.G.. (2011). Physical fitness, everyday physical activity, and fatigue in ambulatory adults with bilateral spastic cerebral palsy. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 21(4), 535–542. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.01086.x