Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in European Journal of Physiotherapy 2020, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 124–132.



Copyright © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Used by permission.


Purpose: To quantify the impact of motor-assisted elliptical (ICARE) training on cardiorespiratory fitness, balance and walking function of an adolescent with walking limitations due to cerebral palsy.

Materials and methods: A thirteen-year-old boy with hemiplegic cerebral palsy (Gross Motor Function Classification System II) and autism participated. Peak oxygen consumption (peak VO2, primary outcome measure), oxygen cost of walking, Pediatric Balance Scale (PBS), modified Timed Up and Go (mTUG), 2-Minute Walk Test (2MWT), and gait characteristics (speed, cadence, step length, single support time) were assessed prior to and after completion of 24 sessions of moderate- to vigorous- intensity ICARE training. The goal was to engage the participant in 3 weekly sessions for 8 weeks with progressively challenging training parameters (speed, time overriding the motor’s assistance, step length).

Results: From pre- to post-intervention, improvements were detected for peak VO2 (27.2 vs. 40.2 ml/ kg/min), oxygen cost (0.24 vs. 0.17 ml/kg/m at 1.52 m/s), PBS (47 vs. 55), mTUG (8.5 vs. 7.1 seconds), 2MWT (76.8 vs. 128.3 meters). Though not all displayed clinically significant changes, self-selected and fast walking speeds improved.

Conclusions: Fitness, balance and walking improvements were achieved by an adolescent with cerebral palsy and autism after participating in a moderate- to vigorous-intensity exercise.