Teaching the mentally retarded skills that build and maintain physical fitness is important for a number of reasons. Until recently, however, this area has been overlooked by most educators and community recreation specialists. Little empirical evidence exists indicating the activities and instructional techniques best suited for this population. There are also few data showing the general level of fitness of mentally retarded persons, improvement in the level of fitness, or the long-term effects of participation in fitness programs. A literature review revealed several factors that should affect future research and programming in fitness through training programs for the mentally retarded. Two of the most significant factors are weaknesses in past studies and the current emphasis on integration of the retarded into regular, community-based programs.
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