Date of Graduation

Spring 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Research Sponsor

Laura Richardson

First Reader

Rachele Kappler

Second Reader

Melissa Smith

Abstract

Regular exercise has a variety of benefits. When incorporated into an individual’s daily routine, exercise contributes to better overall health, less stress, higher self-esteem, and decreased risks for secondary diseases. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the motor control center of the brain, resulting in physical impairment. Individuals with CP have limited means of exercise due to physiological, mental, and emotional obstacles. By incorporating regular exercise into their daily routines, individuals with cerebral palsy may gain physiological improvements, emotional and social benefits and improvements in overall quality of life. PURPOSE: To determine the effect that regular exercise has on the perceived quality of life and overall physical health of an individual with cerebral palsy. METHODS: The participant will be involved in a 10-week regular exercise plan, including resistance training and cardiovascular exercise. The participant will exercise 3 times a week; one day a week supervised with the principal investigator of the study, the other two individually. Pre- and post-program, a quality of life questionnaire will be completed, as well as a grip strength test using a hand dynamometer, in order to see changes in the participant’s perceived quality of life and physical capacity after 10 weeks of regular exercise. RESULTS: Quantitative data collected indicated a significant difference in grip strength in the right arm and, although not significantly different, an increase in grip strength in the left arm pre- and post- program. Qualitative data collected via a quality of life questionnaire described a positive increase in subjective health status, self-esteem, and overall quality of life pre-and post-program. CONCLUSION: Support is given to the hypothesis that regular exercise will lead to improvements in overall quality of life and physical health of an individual with cerebral palsy.

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Honors Signature Cover Page

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