I am beginning to understand, why the exercises I used to do as a child never helped muscle tone and how important it is not only to be able to exercise, but to find the right ones that help with cerebral palsy. Obviously, the extent of the disability very much depends on the affected part of the brain for that individual.
People who have Cerebral Palsy are less likely to be able to exercise, which will increase their sedentary lifestyle. This may increase their risk of developing heart disease, obesity, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Any type of exercise should help bring those risks down.
Exercising regularly with cerebral palsy may help decrease the risk of illness. Exercise also plays its part in decreasing muscle spasms and withering movements, called athetosis too. It can help people go about performing their daily tasks with more ease and independence. On a psychological level, exercise may also help improve overall quality of life, self-confidence and body image.
A general programme for those with cerebral palsy should include if possible aerobic exercise, strength training and flexibility training. If it can be done, aerobic exercise should be performed 3 to 5 days per week, strength training twice a week and mandatory stretching exercises, which help with muscle spasms.
For those who use a wheelchair, special attention should be placed on hip flexors, chest muscles and hamstrings. Obviously gradual progression is always recommended with any exercise and caution should be taken to make sure you stay safe. The amount of time you spend on exercise should be increased before increasing the intensity.
There will always be challenges associated with cerebral palsy that is the nature of cerebral palsy. Those challenges may include dealing with anti-seizure medications, anti-spasm medications and muscle relaxants, which will have an effect on motivation and ones ability to be able to exercise.
Their job is to suppress and relax muscle function that can cause drowsiness, weakness and lack of muscle tone and lethargy which makes it harder to exercise. Other symptoms may include dizziness, irritability, nausea and mental confusion. If any of these symptoms do occur then exercise should be stopped immediately.
Functional abilities must always be considered when starting any exercise. People who can walk on their own may use a treadmill, but if walking is limited, a body support system should help. Recumbent cycling and wheelchair propulsion can be used for those people who cannot walk independently.
For arm and leg cycling, both hands and feet should be strapped comfortably to the handles or pedals. Physical fatigue may cause spasticity to increase. I will also be taking a look at stretches that help with cerebral palsy.