Developing a protocol for an online exercise programme for cerebral palsy clients using 'Physitrack'

Lauren Kelly
19 November 2021 

Kelly, L. (2021). Developing a protocol for an online exercise programme for cerebral palsy clients using 'Physitrack'. (A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the degree Master of Applied Science at Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand)



Children and adolescents with Cerebral Palsy (CP) often receive exercise programs to assist in therapy, habitual exercise, exercise motivation and rehabilitation. Adherence and motivation to exercise programs are two necessary components to achieve exercise goals but can be challenging to accomplish due to difficulties in acquiring novel motor skills, leading to poor performance in daily living activities and restricted participation. The advancement and accessibility of technology show successful integrations in other special populations of games and applications (apps) (i.e., Virtual reality (VR)). However, the use of task-specific online exercise programs/apps within the CP population is unknown.

The literature review (Chapter 2) systematically searched and reviewed three main areas critical to this thesis: 1) exercises for CP clients, 2) uses of online apps/technology, and 3) reviewed relevant outcome measures. Data from the literature review was used to develop a protocol for a Randomised Control Trial (RCT) (Chapter 3).

Eleven studies were identified, and data was extracted regarding technology used, the frequency, intensity, time, and type (FITT) principle and associated outcome measures. This information was then used to develop an evidence-based training protocol using the Physitrack app that will serve as the basis of a future RCT. The protocol developed in Chapter 3 was submitted to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research for further research into technology-specific interventions for CP exercise programs.

An 8-week individualised training program delivered using the Physitrack app, which evaluates clinical and non-clinical outcome measures would provide a robust and easy-to-follow program to reduce burnout/frustration/drop out of caregivers and CP clients. The impact of COVID-19 lockdown resulted in the main study RCT being a protocol as participants for the study were unable to be recruited. A future direction for this thesis would be to complete the RCT protocol in Chapter 3.

Keywords: cerebral palsy, randomised controlled trial, protocol, online application, physical activity, disability

Lauren's research was supervised by Codi Ramsey, Richard Humphrey, and Mat Blair.



This thesis is publically available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International.

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