Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Title: The Effects of an Off-Season Exercise Program For Special Olympic Athletes

Shawnee Good and Zack Bolton

Health & Human Performance Dept.

Introduction: The Special Olympic organization provides seasonal competition for athletes with varying disabilities. Typically, the Special Olympic program focuses primarily on in-season training. In order to increase physical activity throughout the year, we developed off-season training programs for the athletes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of individualized off-season workout programs ultimately improving physical fitness among Special Olympic athletes.

Methods: 11 Special Olympic athletes with intellectual disabilities participated in a structured exercise program study for 6 weeks. Initial testing was performed to assess the capabilities and areas of deficit among the athletes and to individualize the programs. These measures served as the baseline for pre-post intervention comparison. The battery of fitness tests assessed: balance, strength, flexibility, and aerobic abilities. Each participant either met criteria or was below criteria for each test. Participants were separated into peer groups with similar cognitive and physical abilities. The individualized programs targeted their deficits and were administered under the supervision of the investigating team.

Results: Pre and Post data was compared with the Cohen’s D statistic. This group of athletes showed substantial improvements, for example we documented high effect size for our treatments in strength (partial sit-ups: ES 1.5) and aerobic fitness (3 minute walk test: ES .72).

Conclusion: Participants improved in their functional performance results. Off-season fitness programs can benefit Special Olympic athletes outside their competition season. With the addition of these training programs, athletes can increase their levels of physical activity and improve performance in their specific events.

Category

Physical Sciences

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Apr 11th, 3:00 PM Apr 11th, 4:00 PM

The Effects of an Off-Season Exercise Program For Special Olympic Athletes

Title: The Effects of an Off-Season Exercise Program For Special Olympic Athletes

Shawnee Good and Zack Bolton

Health & Human Performance Dept.

Introduction: The Special Olympic organization provides seasonal competition for athletes with varying disabilities. Typically, the Special Olympic program focuses primarily on in-season training. In order to increase physical activity throughout the year, we developed off-season training programs for the athletes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of individualized off-season workout programs ultimately improving physical fitness among Special Olympic athletes.

Methods: 11 Special Olympic athletes with intellectual disabilities participated in a structured exercise program study for 6 weeks. Initial testing was performed to assess the capabilities and areas of deficit among the athletes and to individualize the programs. These measures served as the baseline for pre-post intervention comparison. The battery of fitness tests assessed: balance, strength, flexibility, and aerobic abilities. Each participant either met criteria or was below criteria for each test. Participants were separated into peer groups with similar cognitive and physical abilities. The individualized programs targeted their deficits and were administered under the supervision of the investigating team.

Results: Pre and Post data was compared with the Cohen’s D statistic. This group of athletes showed substantial improvements, for example we documented high effect size for our treatments in strength (partial sit-ups: ES 1.5) and aerobic fitness (3 minute walk test: ES .72).

Conclusion: Participants improved in their functional performance results. Off-season fitness programs can benefit Special Olympic athletes outside their competition season. With the addition of these training programs, athletes can increase their levels of physical activity and improve performance in their specific events.