Cerebral Palsy Parents: How to Stay Fit

boy on exercise ball with therapist

When you have a child with cerebral palsy, you are going to that your free time is rare. This is especially true if your child has moderate to severe cerebral palsy. Caregivers often find that their lives are fully entwined in taking care of their children and that they don’t take time to take care of themselves. Parents of children with cerebral palsy need to look after their own health as well as the health of their children.

Fortunately, some of the aspects of self-care can be addressed within the daily routine of caring for your child. One of the easiest features of your own well being to take care of while caring for your child is that of getting proper exercise and staying fit. While many people think of movement limitations when they think of cerebral palsy, getting adequate exercise is even more important for these children than others.

Exercise When They Do

Proper exercise can be quite challenging for some children with cerebral palsy. These children face physical limitations that often prevent them from running around at the same level as other kids. However, there are exercises that children with all levels of cerebral palsy can participate in to keep healthy and active.

Children with cerebral palsy generally visit a physical therapist in order to help them learn the exercises that are right for them and help minimize the burden that their condition can have on their body while increasing their flexibility and strength.

Talk to your child’s physical therapist about what activities are suitable for your child to participate in at home to get the exercise they need outside of the therapist’s office. Your child’s physical therapist should have plenty of suggestions for you on how to keep your child on an active schedule while at home.

Exercising along with your child is one of the best ways to keep them interested in the activity. It also has the added benefit of ensuring that you too get the exercise that your body needs. Finding activities that the whole family can participate in to can be very beneficial. By exercising together, you improve both your health and the health of your child.

Benefits of Exercise for Children With Cerebral Palsy

The benefits of exercise go beyond helping your child with their flexibility and strength. Because of the stress that their condition puts on their body, people with cerebral palsy tend to age faster. This leaves them at high risk for several different health conditions, including:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory issues
  • Osteoporosis
  • Neurological problems

Fortunately, all of these risks are greatly diminished, as long as your child maintains a healthy exercise routine. By getting enough exercise, not only do children with cerebral palsy have a better chance of avoiding the negative health impacts above, but they also benefit from other health effects, including better sleep.

Cerebral palsy often makes sleep a challenge. In turn, parents of children with cerebral palsy will often find their own sleep schedule greatly diminished. By ensuring that your child gets enough exercise, you not only help them get the critical sleep they need to stay healthy, but you help yourself as well.

Good Health Is Cyclical

The more well-rested you are, the better care you are able to provide for your child, and in turn, the more well-rested they are, the more motivated they will be to do their daily exercises. 

Not getting enough sleep can spiral negatively. Being tired can lead to not wanting to exercise, and not getting enough exercise can lead to not getting enough sleep. At the same time, the opposite is true. Better sleep leads to more exercise, and back to better sleep. Taking care of yourself and your child with cerebral palsy can go hand in hand. You just need to figure out a routine that works for you.

Cost of Physical and Other Therapies

While you can do a lot of exercises with your child at home, it is also in their best interest to visit a professional who can help ensure that they are getting the right exercise and that they are staying in the best health possible. Unfortunately, the cost of taking your child to various therapists can be quite steep. 

Not only do you have to deal with the cost of the therapists themselves, but they are often scattered around town or out of town, and the cost in time and gas can both be quite burdensome. For parents who have children with cerebral palsy that developed the condition as the result of a birth injury, seeking compensation from the responsible party is often going to be your best path to getting the money you need to care for your child.

If your child suffered a life-changing injury due to the negligence of a medical professional, you should contact a birth injury lawyer to discuss your options. A qualified lawyer can talk you through all of your options and advise you about whether or not you have a case.


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