Fruitless Exercises

My last two blogs on Dyspraxia have taken my thoughts back to my childhood this morning and the one thing that sticks out in my mind is my exercise routine and how fruitless they were.

It wasn’t even the exercises I was mad at, or being singled out to do them. I was frustrated at the fact that neither of my parents wanted to know or if they did know I didn’t know what was wrong with me. Deep down I knew that the exercises I had been told to do wouldn’t help.

My philosophy has always been that you can’t add muscle tone to a leg that has insufficient muscle development or an arch to a foot that is part of a drop foot, so the exercises my mum made me do, would never have corrected those problems. My parents lack of wanting to help me emotionally, made me even more agitated.

Of course I would have had to do exercises. That was a given, but the exercises I had to do became a constant source of stress to me. My mum cared enough to want to help me at least, but the kind of exercises I had to do, didn’t make things any easier. Apart from my leg being slightly more flexible today, it has very little shape.

It is true that in the 1960’s, in the UK, society and the medical profession didn’t know as much as they do today and I have to continue to resolve that. Exercises will probably be better suited to help someone with Cerebral Palsy today. The medical profession is more caring now. Everything felt clinical with no real care and consideration to the person having to deal with the problem and that feeling is still here with me today.

When I asked my mother questions about my exercises, she’d say, “You can’t have a pretty face without a pretty leg.” Although well intentioned, I didn’t equate what she meant. All I remember is that I don’t have fond memories of that time.


18 Jan, 2012

8 thoughts on “Fruitless Exercises

  1. As you say things were very different here in the UK.

    In the 1960s, there wasn’t the transparency that there is now in the medical profession, there was little real understanding of disability and of people with disabilities and above all, there was no real accountability for medical decisions. Much was kept from patients and families.

    When you add all of these together, it is perhaps no surprise that you as a child had no idea what was going on and similarly I suspect that your parents didn’t ask the right questions.

    What is important is you recognise all of this, which I know you do; then you can find the right place for this and I know you can do that too.

    1. I believe some information was out there in the 1960’s, but my parents found it difficult so chose not to ask their own questions.

      Ditto on your other points.

  2. Having 5 operations on my legs, meant I had to learn to walk again after each operation. Exercise was necessary for me to get back to some sense of normal.

    Too bad you did not have good doctors to treat you properly when you were growing up. It might have turned out differently for you. Too bad you did not have better support.

    My parents knew in order for me to have a better life these operations were necessary. I thank god I am as good as I am today. It could always be worse. I count my blessings.

    1. It sounds like you had all the right support you needed to get you through what you had to deal with on your CP. Your exercise regime will have played a pivotal for the success of any operation you had.

      I am pleased things turned out for you.

  3. I got a lot of exercise as a child and teenager because I was a dancer for many of those years. What ticks me off is that I didn’t get support to continue which would be helping me today struggle with diabetes.

    I can do a little exercise but I tire so easily sometimes; it just isn’t worth the effort to me. Why do something that’s going to make me feel worse?

    I am currently considering starting a walking program and yoga again for my health. Those two things I think I can do, without wearing myself out.

    1. It’s good that you at least managed to exercise Lisa even if you didn’t have the support to continue as a child and teenager.

      Let me know how you get on if you decide to go back into exercise. Both walking and yoga sound good.

  4. I agree with most of this discussion as we all had some good reason for regular or in my case, daily legs and hand stretches, but my issue was more with isolation as we lived way out in the country.

    My mother too had this awful job as my nurse as well as my physio, to stretch my legs apart almost like a Turkey on Christmas dinner.

    We can all look back and find there may have been a better way of doing regular exercises, but at that time in the early 60’s it was the only choice many parents had.

    Possibly our parents were a little naive to question Doctors back in those days.

    Anyway, keep up the good work as I love to drop in for a quick read from time to time… Mike

    1. I am sure you’re right Mike, most of us will look back and find things that could perhaps have been done differently around exercise and what we had to deal with; but with my parents not actually knowing I had CP, it made it more difficult for me to work to what they were asking me to do.

      I do agree though, we have moved on. I am more knowledgeable about my CP and what exercise works, as I am sure you are too.

      Thanks for posting Mike. Would love you to post again soon.

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