WHAT IS CEREBRAL PALSY?
Cerebral palsy is a group of developmental disorders that impedes an individual’s ability to move, posture and muscle tone. This occurs due to damage to the brain while it is developing during pregnancy or early childhood. Globally 17 million people have cerebral palsy, with approximately 34,000 living in Australia. Statistics show that 1 in 2 people with cerebral palsy suffer pain or an intellectual impairment and 1 in 3 cannot walk. Cerebral palsy can impact on an individual in a variety of ways. This may be in terms of mobility, motor control, muscle tone (both hyperactive and hypoactive), muscle reflexes, posture, coordination and balance. An individual with cerebral palsy may also have sensory impairments (visual and auditory), poor speech, cognitive impairments and epilepsy.
HOW CAN EXERCISE HELP CEREBRAL PALSY?
Participating in regular exercise can be highly beneficial for physical, mental and social wellbeing of those with cerebral palsy. Exercise can assist with physical wellbeing through improving fine and gross motor skills, enhance mobility, improve strength and reduce muscle imbalances, improve flexibility, enhance coordination and improve balance. Exercise improves mental health through reducing depression and anxiety while promoting increasing attention and improved sleep patterns. Exercise reduces social isolation and promotes avenues to interact with other people, including those with cerebral palsy. Exercise programs are designed by exercise physiologists tailoring the program to improve the specific areas listed above, while considering other needs and interests of the participant. The overall goal is promoting enjoyment and lifelong positive participation in exercise.
WHAT TYPES OF EXERCISE?
Cardiorespiratory exercise should be performed at a moderate intensity safely building up to 20-60 minutes, starting as little as 1-2 times a week and progressing up to 5 times a week. This can include swimming, walking, stationary cycling or boxing. Resistance training should focus on large muscle groups and incorporate machine weights, bands and body weight exercises.· Stretching can be performed as warm up and cool down activities and should focus on major muscles used during exercise and specific muscles that are frequently tight.Balance tasks should begin while stationary and progress to while moving, as this is more related to lifestyle. Balance tasks are important as they reduce the risks of falls.
HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?
Our exercise physiologists will complete a comprehensive assessment to ensure exercise prescription is safe, and individualised to your conditions and needs. We offer a range of services including but not limited to: Hydrotherapy Gym-based exercise therapy Home-based exercise therapy Group sessions Pilates It is recommended that you to speak with your general practitioner or specialist prior to commencing an exercise program.