Friday, July 11, 2014

Advice: How Can I Help My Friend Best Friend With CP Work Out

My best friend, who has cerebal palsy, wants to start working out.
Could anyone with the condition, or knowledge of the needs of people with this condition advise my friends and I on how to train him? Are there things I should know about cerebal palsy?  How could someone with the condition make good gains?

First and foremost, be aware of the language you’re using. You’re best friend isn’t a pet. He’s a human being. Having said that, as this is something he has expressed interest in, I’d first tell you there is more than one type of Cerebral Palsy. The type I have, for example, affects only my legs. It makes the muscles in them tight. It also affects my balance. There’s also a type that means the muscles are overly loose and floppy. It can affect any of the limbs or all of them.
For CP that makes the muscles tighter like I have, stretching is a great exercise and can help with mobility and range of motion. I would suggest starting slowly and with less reps. Make any increases only according to what your friend is comfortable with. If you are helping him with this, it’s really important that he can trust you with his body. Listen to him. If he says something hurts, believe him. When stretching, always bring his leg (for example) down gradually. Never drop it. Let him be in control of how many reps he wants to do and how long he goes for.
Swimming is great as far as a low impact exercise that your friend might enjoy. HOWEVER, (and this is a big however) if you or friends help him with this, be absolutely positive that you can safely help him in and out of the pool. If you can’t, bring someone with you, who can. Remember, even if you can easily help him in the pool, when helping him out, he’ll be wet and slippery. Also, he’ll likely wear a life-jacket (don’t hassle him about it, even if you think he’s fine and knows you’re joking.) If you cannot safely do this with him, don’t.
If he’s able, go on short walks with him with his walker, crutches, cane, or manual wheelchair (pushing himself if he’s able.) Walk beside him at whatever pace he sets.
The most important thing is to listen to him. Ask HIM what he wants to do to get in shape. Then ask if it’s something he’d like your help with and how exactly he needs you to help.
Hope this helps!

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