Treadmills may have benefits for certain infants

March 1, 2010

Infants who had prenatal complications or who faced injuries at birth may benefit from hopping on the treadmill.

Infants who had prenatal complications or who faced injuries at birth may benefit from hopping on the treadmill. Specifically, the infants may be able to walk earlier, and their walking skills may be improved as a result, according to research published in the journal Pediatric Physical Therapy.

Over a 2-year period, investigators evaluated 15 infants who were at risk for neuromotor delays that could result in cerebral palsy. Children were assessed for physical activity and treadmill stepping in their homes, with the aid of parents.

Researchers measured step frequency and decrease in toe walking over the duration of the study. Findings indicated that toddlers with neuromotor delays using the treadmill were on the same improving trajectory as children without neuromotor delays. Of the 15 children, 6 were diagnosed with cerebral palsy.