Assessing the Impact of Aerobic Fitness on Gait

  • Annet Dallmeijer
  • Astrid Balemans
  • Eline Bolster
Reference work entry


Children with cerebral palsy often develop walking problems, like reduced walking distance, or early fatigue during walking. These problems are primarily caused by motor impairments that lead to gait deviations and increased energy demands of walking which reduce activities in daily life. As a consequence, physical inactivity and low fitness are frequent in this population. The combination of an increased energy demand of walking and reduced aerobic fitness brings about high levels of physical strain of walking. Maintaining adequate (aerobic) fitness levels by physical training is therefore important in children with high energy demands of walking as this keeps up their metabolic reserve and reduces fatigue-related walking problems and inactivity. Exercise testing is applied to measure the energy demands of walking and aerobic fitness, guiding whether treatment should focus on reducing energy cost, increasing fitness, or both. Testing is especially indicated when walking problems and physical activity-related fatigue are reported. To improve aerobic fitness in deconditioned children, training of sufficient frequency, intensity and duration is required, preferably combined with specific functional exercises.


Aerobic fitness Cerebral palsy Energy consumption Gait deviations Physical strain Training 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annet Dallmeijer
    • 1
  • Astrid Balemans
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Eline Bolster
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation MedicineMOVE Research Institute Amsterdam, EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Brain Center Rudolf Magnus and Center of Excellence for Rehabilitation Medicine University Medical CenterUtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.De Hoogstraat RehabilitationUtrechtThe Netherlands

Section editors and affiliations

  • Freeman Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.duPont Hospital for ChildrenWilmingtonUSA

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