Cerebral Palsy and Exercise

Exercise Matters

Especially for a child who has cerebral palsy, ongoing exercise can continue to provide benefits throughout their life. Exercise is especially important during the first couple of years, between ages two and four because during this time, if you manage symptoms early, you can get ahead of the problem and improve your child’s quality of life. Similar to healthy eating habits, exercise can lead to several health benefits.

How Your Child Benefits from Exercises

One of the biggest problems that occur with CP is decreased muscle strength. Through exercise, your child can learn balance and how to become more independent. When your child exercises, it will strengthen his or her arms and legs and improve functionality. Unfortunately, children with CP will most likely always experience some form of disability because of how this condition negatively impacts the brain. It causes irreversible brain damage.  However, if you take active measures to help your child, you can see benefits like coordination improvements and balance improvements. In addition, exercise has a positive impact on cerebral palsy because of how it boosts your child’s sense of confidence.

The diagnosis of CP is a long-term disability, that remains lifelong. Because of that, it is important to take as many measures as possible to keep CP from becoming a limiting disability. Not only is the goal to help your child to live openly and more freely, but you also have the goal to give your child a sense of independence.

There are a few different exercises that are considered beneficial for a child with CP.  In many cases, people have found swimming incredibly helpful for children who have this disorder because of how it is a low-impact sport. Typically, you will meet with your occupational therapist to determine how to address some of the unique challenges that present. Even stretching has been found to be useful for children like this because of how it helps them to increase their range of motion. Meanwhile, they gain more muscle tone and gain better control over their movements.