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Exercises for People with Cerebral Palsy

The benefit of exercises for people with cerebral palsy are immeasurable in the amount of energy, stress release, and general good feeling they can produce. Exercises for people with cerebral palsy can increase participation in individual and community activities. Exercising also improves the person’s sense of well-being and reduces anxiety. Exercises for people with cerebral palsy increase and maintain heart and lung efficiency, and maintain strength, flexibility, mobility and coordination. They also improve and maintain bone structure, strength, assist in weight control, and reduce risks of several chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and osteoporosis.

Exercises for people with cerebral palsy should be made into a part of their daily routine by incorporating it into such activities as dressing and feeding. Consulting with your child's occupational and physical therapists can give you specific tips on how to do this. If possible, enroll your child in a formal physical fitness program in addition to fitting exercise into the child's daily routine. Gym classes, movement experiences, and other programs for young children are blossoming, and many are quite receptive to children with cerebral palsy. It is not essential that you find a program with a staff trained in dealing with children with special needs, although you will want to have the help and cooperation of the instructor.

When deciding on exercises for people with cerebral palsy, generally, it will be up to the caregiver to apply the correct procedures of reducing or increasing muscle tone and encouraging normal movement as they assist the child. A physical or occupational therapist can tell you whether your child might benefit from any program you are considering.

There are also many new and exciting challenges for children of all levels that can be found in public playgrounds. Another outdoor activity that can benefit almost any child with cerebral palsy is swimming. New exercises for people with cerebral palsy have taken to the water. Aquatic-based exercises for people with cerebral palsy use the physical properties of water to resist or assist in the performance of exercises. Not only does swimming give children the freedom of movement they don't have on land, but it can also help improve respiratory ability. It is important to note that cold water can increase muscle tone, but warm water often has a relaxing effect and can help reduce muscle tone. Locate a pool with the water temperature that is best suited for your child's tone.

The benefits of exercises for people with cerebral palsy are great but each individual has their limitations. As with everything else in life, moderation is the key. Know the child’s limits and understand that they will build stamina over time. An appropriate exercise program should not aggravate conditions that accompany cerebral palsy or other neuromuscular disorders.

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