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Physical work capacity and effect of endurance training in visually handicapped boys and young male adults

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The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the relationship between several physical fitness parameters and eyesight divided into 3 grades in visually handicapped boys and young male adults, and to investigate the effect of mild exercise training on physical and psychic symptoms as well as cardiorespiratory fitness. Four subjects were totally blind (TB), 6 were semi-blind (SB) and 27 had amblyopia (AM). Physical fitness tests consisted of maximal oxygen uptake (V O 2max), maximal pedalling speed and power, maximal stepping rate, and isometric knee extention strength. Compared with AM and SB groups, the TB group was inferior in all physical fitness parameters. Especially,V O 2max in TB (26 ml · kg−1 · min−1) was about 56% of that in agematched Japanese sighted subjects and was significantly low compared with the AM and SB groups. Both muscle strength and maximal pedalling power corresponded to about 50% that of the age-matched sighted group. Six SB and 4 TB students (¯x=17.7 years) were trained for 6 weeks on a bicycle ergometer at an intensity of 50%V O 2max. Training was undertaken for 3 days per week and maintained for 60 min per session. After training, physical and psychic symptoms determined by the Cornell Medical Index improved significantly. These results indicate that low physical work capacity in visually handicapped boys and young male adults is due to the lack of physical activity, and that mild endurance training is effective in improving physical and psychic symptoms as well as cardiorespiratory fitness.

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Correspondence to Munehiro Shindo.

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Shindo, M., Kumagai, S. & Tanaka, H. Physical work capacity and effect of endurance training in visually handicapped boys and young male adults. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 56, 501–507 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00635361

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Key words

  • Physical inactivity
  • Visual handicapped
  • Endurance training
  • Maximal oxygen uptake