In previous posts, we have talked about how fitness helps with stress and many other things. But what about if you have cerebral palsy, should you be involved in fitness, either at a gym or at your house where you make a home-based gym? First of all, what is Cerebral Palsy? Cerebral Palsy is a condition marked by impaired muscle coordination (spastic paralysis and/or other disabilities typically caused by damage to the brain before or at birth, in easier terms to understand low oxygen to the brain before or at birth, is what causes cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture, and balance. It can also impact gross motor skills and fine motor skills as well as oral motor functioning. It affects each person differently. Although since it is damage to the brain and can’t currently be fixed, there are ways to treat it with therapy.
If you have cerebral palsy you will live with it there is no cure for it but with therapy and treatment, you can learn to live with it and function normally. It is in a sense a handicap, depending on the state of the cerebral palsy that you have, however that doesn’t mean you can’t live with it and do things that others can. The different types of cerebral palsy include, Quadriplegia – a form of bilateral cerebral palsy affecting all four limbs, Diplegia- effecting both legs, the arms may be affected to a lesser extent. Hemiplegia a form of unilateral cerebral palsy, one side of the body one arm and one leg are affected.
So now that we know what cerebral palsy is and the different types, the question still remains how does fitness help with it? Sure in order to improve motor function and fine motor skills you need to do stretching and things that involve your hands to improve your functioning. But this is not all you can do. It does, however, depend on the type of cerebral palsy that you have, some people with cerebral palsy will not be able to workout at a gym, because of the type of cerebral palsy they have, but others will. It just depends on the severity of it.
To improve motor function and flexibility in your muscles whether it be your arms or your legs when it comes to cerebral palsy you are told to do stretches to improve flexibility. However, the list of stretches is so long that I am not going to list them. I will, however, tell you the stretches that I had to do, because yes I have cerebral palsy, I had to do something called long leg sitting, which is sitting against the wall with your legs out in front of you and I had to touch my toes, in order to stretch my hamstrings. I also had to have people stretch my legs until I was about eleven or twelve when I could do my own stretches without having other people lift my legs in order to get the range that I was missing. As it is mentioned above cerebral palsy is incurable which means I will have to do stretches for the rest of my life in order to keep myself mobile and to improve my flexibility. However, since I can do them on my own I don’t need someone to do them like I did when I was younger which is a plus.
If you don’t need to have someone in your house helping you with your stretches, and you can do them on your own like me, why not get involved in fitness either at a gym or at your house. Even if you need assistance with it. Why not give it a shot it’s a great way to keep you flexible and mobile for longer. In the sense of cerebral palsy and what it can do to you in the future as you get older if you don’t keep up with your exercising.
So if even if you stretch every day, but you still want to better your flexibility why not get into working out? I don’t do stretches anymore, with someone I have to do them on my own, which I haven’t done until recently. I realized before I started this fitness journey that there was something missing from my life I was tighter and it was harder to get going, during the day. After I started working out daily, however, I feel more limber and am a lot healthier which is the goal isn’t it. So if have cerebral palsy but can get involved at a gym or do some sort of workouts at home, why not give them a try, it will benefit you in the future, and you will be more mobile which is the goal and what doing fitness while having cerebral palsy does for you anyway.
The more active you are, with cerebral palsy by doing extra stretching and workouts just to keep you mobile, the more you will be able to move in the future. Just because you have cerebral palsy and have to do stretches that the physio gives you doesn’t mean you can’t workout at the gym or at home, you can do that too in order to stay more flexible and what I do now since I don’t go to physio anymore but know that I have to work on improving my range of motion and walking. Since cerebral palsy is for life, you are always going to have to do exercise in order to keep yourself flexible, so that you can walk on your own. At least that is what I have to do.
Even if you have cerebral palsy but you want to do something like go to the gym. Then just go to the gym and work out, it will help with your flexibility and coordination. If you want to work out at home with your own fitness regime and still do the stretches you need to in order to stay flexible, then do that too. Every little bit of exercise no matter if you were prescribed it because of you’re cerebral palsy or not will help you live a better life in the future.
I have cerebral palsy and can now do my stretches on my own and I add my workouts into that too, working my core and doing other things in order to improve my balance. Including doing my stretches for my cerebral palsy has helped my walking ability considerably. It also helps with flexibility which is great, so if you have cerebral palsy and want to still do more then go for it, you will feel so much better in the end. Cerebral Palsy lasts for life but there is no reason you can’t get into fitness like having a gym membership or doing your own fitness routine with it, you just have to fit it into your life just like you have to fit your stretches into your life, so why not combine them?