Presenter Information

Brittany GrahamFollow

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Many Special Olympic athletes have not been known to follow an off-season fitness program. The aim of this study was to provide individualized fitness programs for each of the participating athletes, and to have them work out twice weekly as part of their off-season training. Many athletes were involved in this study and each researcher was assigned to work with one athlete. The athletes were tested before the start of the program and after 6 weeks of training. Each athlete was tested in the fields of aerobic fitness, strength, balance, and flexibility. The aerobic test was a timed 3 minute walk/run. Heart rate and oxygen saturation were measured for pre-exercise, post-exercise, and 2 minutes following exercise. Strength was measured by a timed-stand test, a partial sit up test, and a seated push-up test. Balance was measured by a multidirectional, functional reach test and a timed single leg stance, once with the eyes closed and once with them open. Flexibility was measured of the shoulders by Apley’s Test (for functional shoulder rotation) and of the hamstrings by a sit and reach test. Six weeks of training resulted in subject 1 with much improvement. The subject walked an extra 247.5 feet within the 3 minute time limit and exercise heart rate was significantly lowered. The subject showed substantial improvement for all flexibility measurements and both the timed-stand and partial sit-up tests. There was minimal improvement for all balance tests. The implementation of an off-season training program for Special Olympic athletes is already generating positive results. The continuation of personalized, training programs for these athletes is likely to yield even more improvement of their fitness levels.

Category

Physical Sciences

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

Offseason Training Programs Improve Fitness of Special Olympic Athletes

Many Special Olympic athletes have not been known to follow an off-season fitness program. The aim of this study was to provide individualized fitness programs for each of the participating athletes, and to have them work out twice weekly as part of their off-season training. Many athletes were involved in this study and each researcher was assigned to work with one athlete. The athletes were tested before the start of the program and after 6 weeks of training. Each athlete was tested in the fields of aerobic fitness, strength, balance, and flexibility. The aerobic test was a timed 3 minute walk/run. Heart rate and oxygen saturation were measured for pre-exercise, post-exercise, and 2 minutes following exercise. Strength was measured by a timed-stand test, a partial sit up test, and a seated push-up test. Balance was measured by a multidirectional, functional reach test and a timed single leg stance, once with the eyes closed and once with them open. Flexibility was measured of the shoulders by Apley’s Test (for functional shoulder rotation) and of the hamstrings by a sit and reach test. Six weeks of training resulted in subject 1 with much improvement. The subject walked an extra 247.5 feet within the 3 minute time limit and exercise heart rate was significantly lowered. The subject showed substantial improvement for all flexibility measurements and both the timed-stand and partial sit-up tests. There was minimal improvement for all balance tests. The implementation of an off-season training program for Special Olympic athletes is already generating positive results. The continuation of personalized, training programs for these athletes is likely to yield even more improvement of their fitness levels.