This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Effects of Low-Tempo and High-Tempo Zumba® in Individuals with Developmental Disabilities




Munn, Emily

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation




Adults with developmental disabilities (DD) exhibit deficits in aerobic capacity, functional mobility, balance, healthy body composition, and executive functioning across development. Different exercise interventions have been shown to improve different outcome measures in this population. However, few studies have examined the impact of adapted exercise interventions from a more comprehensive perspective (i.e., physical and cognitive health). The present study examined the effects of a 10-week (2 session/week, 1 hour/session) adapted Zumba® dance intervention on aerobic capacity, functional mobility, balance, body composition, and executive functioning in 44 adults with DD ages 20.8–69.2 years. In addition to examining the overall differences between control and intervention conditions, differences in conditions were also examined. To this end, the present study employed a cross-over design with a 3-month wash-out period in which participants in the intervention also served as controls. The participants were quasi-randomized (to match the level of daily function across conditions) into one of two Zumba intervention conditions: low tempo Zumba® (0.75 speed; n = 23), and high tempo Zumba® (normal speed; n = 21). When participants served as controls, they participated in regular daily activities. A significant Condition x Time interaction was observed for the 6- Minute Walk Test and Timed-Up-And-Go; participants in the low and high tempo Zumba® conditions significantly increased the distance walked for the 6-Minute Walk Test and reduced the total time to complete the Timed-Up-And-Go. The control condition did not improve for either task. There were no significant Condition x Time interactions for the Clinical Test of Sensory Interaction in Balance, Percent Body Fat, or Flanker Task. Taken together, these results suggest that 10-weeks of adapted Zumba® improves functional mobility and aerobic capacity, but not balance, body composition, and executive function in adults with DD. Moreover, adapted II Zumba® with a slower tempo may enable a broader range of adults with DD to participate and benefit from this type of program commonly offered in the community.