A systematic review of the effectiveness of aerobic exercise interventions for children with cerebral palsy: an AACPDM evidence report

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2008 Nov;50(11):808-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2008.03134.x. Epub 2008 Sep 22.


The aim of this review was to assess the evidence regarding the effectiveness of aerobic training interventions for children with cerebral palsy (CP). The target population included children with CP of any severity, aged 2 to 17 years. The following databases were searched for English language studies from 1960 to 2006: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Pascal, Cochrane Library, CSA Neuroscience Abstracts, The Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), and Sport Discus. Search terms included 'cerebral palsy', 'athetoid', 'ataxic', 'spastic diplegia', 'hemiplegia', 'quadriplegia', 'aerobic', 'exercise', 'training', 'physical activity', 'aquatic/water/pool therapy', and 'continuous exercise'. The American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine systematic review guidelines were used to format the review. One thousand, four hundred and eighty nine articles were identified and examined for the stated inclusion and exclusion criteria. Thirteen articles met the criteria for inclusion. The evidence suggests that aerobic exercise with children with CP can improve physiological outcomes, but the influence of these changes on outcomes representing activity and participation are unknown. Future research needs improved methodological rigour in order to determine a specific set of exercise guidelines and safety considerations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Treatment Outcome