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Our son has mild cerebral palsy, but that sure doesn’t stop him from doing the things that he loves. One of the things he loves to do is to swim. Swimming provides freedom and improves mobility for kids with cerebral palsy like our son, and there are many other benefits to engaging in aquatic exercises of any kind to help improve the overall physical and emotional health in a child living with cerebral palsy that makes life more worthy of living.
Most recreation centers offer a variety of Aquatic based programs. From Jazzercise and Aquafit to kids water polo, Aquatic Therapy is known as water-based exercises and basically can help to improve the quality of child living with cerebral palsy and their life. These types of programs are great for kids with cerebral palsy because they allow freedom without the child having to use the majority of their body weight while still being able to have some fun.
Swimming is an excellent source of exercise for a child with Cerebral Palsy. It helps with movement as muscles can become tight and swimming helps with muscle tone, respiratory ability and gives freedom of movement that kids with CP can often find difficult on land…
What Are The Benefits of Swimming and Aquatic Therapy For Kids With Cerebral Palsy?
- Overall improvement in body strength and conditioning
- Provides independence over the environment to which kids live
- Improves the body and its health in a stress-free environment
- Increase in self-confidence
- Helps to improve muscle control
- Improved heart health and lung capacity for breathing
- Relief of pain in the body and joints that are affected daily
- Reducing injuries during other exercises such as running, walking, jumping and playing
- Increasing endurance and flexibility during growth spurts
- Helps to keep body circulation moving with early prevention of blood clots
There are also many emotional benefits to swimming. I know that when I take my son swimming, his overall mood improves. He isn’t so irritable or agitated, bored or out of sorts. Swimming instantly perks him up and helps to improve his overall feelings. The emotional benefits include:
- Increase in quality of life providing the ability for movement
- Rise in sensory connection to the body while remaining free-floating
- Having fun and relaxation while exercising
- Movement without restrictions
So whether you enter your child into Aquatic classes or straight swimming lessons. The benefits of swimming for a child with cerebral palsy go far beyond just floating in the water. Check out your local pools and rec centers for more information.
Disclosure: I am not a doctor, always consult with a physician before engaging in any type of physical exercise.