CP and Fitness

Physical fitness is an essential part of maintaining overall health, happiness and well-being. This is no different for those diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, adults should clock in at least 150 minutes of exercise and muscle strengthening a week. This recommendation also applies to individuals with physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy.

For individuals with CP, maintaining a regular fitness routine can have an array of benefits that allow for an improved mental and physical state. The symptoms of cerebral palsy include limited mobility and problems surrounding balance, posture, gait and coordination. Exercises targeted at improving these issues can help increase mobility and movement control, among many other things.

Tips To Start Working Out With CP

Depending on the level of severity and the type of CP present, completing 150 minutes of exercise a week can seem like a difficult task. However, there are many ways to ease yourself into a fitness routine that will provide you with an array of health benefits.

Start exercising with CP using the following tips:

Consult with your doctor.

Before starting a new fitness routine, it is important that you first discuss a plan with your doctor or physical/occupational therapist. These medical professionals will be able to recommend an amount of time each day that would be safe to work out without overworking your muscles or joints.

Find a fitness environment that works for you.

Some people enjoy working out in a gym setting, while others opt to venture outdoors. Finding a comfortable fitness environment that helps you stay motivated is an essential part of keeping up with a fitness routine. Don’t feel obligated to hit your local gym if you feel that a work-out video in your living room would be more beneficial.

Set goals and stick to them.

Setting realistic fitness goals will allow you to keep up with your routine without becoming bored or discouraged. If you’re having trouble coming up with a set of fitness goals, try working with a physical therapist or trainer to establish a routine that works for you. Then, put your plan in motion and don’t give up!

Start slow.

One of the biggest mistakes that anyone can make when starting a new fitness routine is starting off too strong. Use the first few sessions to gauge your current level of physical fitness. Then, ease into more intense exercises and routines over a period of time. This will prevent any injuries or over-exhaustion.

Get Motivated By CP Fitness Bloggers

Developing a fitness routine and sticking to it takes determination. If you’re having trouble finding the motivation to work out, you are definitely not alone. Fortunately, there are many sources of inspiration available online.

Popular CP fitness bloggers provide a powerful sense of community for anyone with a physical limitation. These bloggers post easy workout routines that can be replicated at your local gym or even in your living room. Oftentimes, they will also use their online following to generate important conversations about how people with disabilities are treated and represented in the media.

Fitness bloggers use outlets such as Facebook, Youtube, Vine and Instagram to upload daily fitness routines. These videos can also help encourage those who may be experiencing embarrassment or anxiety surrounding physical activity to get out there and get movin’ – despite a CP diagnosis.

Some popular CP fitness bloggers to get inspired by include:

1. Zach Anner

Zach Anner first made headlines in 2015 with his hilarious and motivational “Workout Wednesdays” videos. The posts were quickly shared on social media and news outlets across the world.

Zach’s positive attitude is contagious and his jokes will have you cracking up the entire time. Check out his Youtube channel here and start laughing your way to those 6 pack abs.

2. Tyler Born

Unlike Zach Anner, Tyler Born began posting his work-out videos online simply to track his progress over time. However, his Youtube channel took off and very quickly became a motivation for others.

Tyler told Today.com that he’s surprised by the success of his videos, but happy. He said, “I want people to feel that they’re able to accomplish things even when other people tell them they can’t.” Head over to Tyler’s Youtube page here.

3. Kylie Van Roeyen

Kyle Van Roeyen is a Belgian fitness model who has used social media to spread awareness about cerebral palsy and exercise. On her popular Facebook page, she states “During birth, my disability Cerebral Palsy was acquited. This is why I train and Motivate!”

Kylie spreads a powerful message about clean eating, fitness and achieving a positive mindset through exercise. She even started a personal training company founded on the idea of hard work, determination and teamwork. Check out her website here.

Get Ready To Get Fit

Once you’ve consulted with your doctor or CP specialist, it’s time to start creating a fitness plan that works for you. Put together a set of exercises that challenge you without pushing you past your limits. It’s important to start slow and gradually work your way towards your fitness goals.

If at any point you feel like throwing in the towel – just know that there are countless people who have been in your shoes, who are rooting you on the whole way.

And remember: “You can’t spell miles without smiles.” – Zach Anner