Lee A. Felts

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Tymeson, Garth

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Physical Education


Spina bifida; Physical fitness for the physically handicapped


The purpose of this study was to test the efficacy of an existing aerobic exercise program designed for paraplegics. Subjects were five paraplegics and four functional paraplegics ranging in age from 18 to 32 years. All subjects were from the Chicago suburbs. Five of the subjects participated in the 8-week exercise program and four served as control subjects. Two functional paraplegics were in each group. All subjects had spina bifida (myelomeningocele). Subjects in both groups were tested individually on the mile- and-a-half and quarter-mile wheelchair push or walk tests. The following data were collected during testing: pre-exercise heart rate, time to perform each "run" to nearest second or distance to nearest foot if test could not be completed, and recovery heart rate. Both of the tests were administered prior to and immediately after the training program. During the training sessions, preexercise, exercise, and recovery heart rates were collected. The program took place 3 days a week. Each session consisted of a 5-min warm-up, a 15-min exercise session, and a 5-min cool-down. Percent gain scores were calculated from the descriptive data collected on both groups. The data derived from the exercise sessions were treated descriptively by discussing the percentage of time each subject remained in his/her exercise target range. The results of this study suggest that the National Handicapped Sports and Recreation Association program is an effective method of exercise to improve the cardiorespiratory fitness of paraplegics. However, more studies need to be conducted to control for other variables such as strength gains and weight.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 33-36)


ix, 41 pages




Northern Illinois University

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