Exercise in Adults with Cerebral Palsy

Adults who have cerebral palsy can see positive effects through regular exercise. Due to physical challenges that come with cerebral palsy, there might be challenges regarding the intensity of exercise. However, with regular physical activity, one can increase the exercise time as the body becomes used to the movement. There are noticeable determinants of exercising in adults with cerebral palsy. 

Can cerebral palsy improve with exercise?

Exercising can be a difficult habit to cultivate. Lack of motivation and habit of inactivity can create severe problems for people of all ages. However, persistent inactivity can be harmful to older adults with cerebral palsy. Exercising can provide subsisting benefits for older adults with cerebral palsy. Exercises for cerebral palsy patients help in movement and strengthening muscles. It is especially helpful for maintaining the habit of regular motion and motor coordination. Aerobic exercise is preferable for older adults as it helps them with mobility. 

What should people with cerebral palsy avoid?

Lifestyle and dietary changes can prevent the risk of contact with cerebral palsy later in life. It requires medical issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, or STIs to be treated actively. Taking care of your mental health can also help alleviate some of the stress that comes with tackling a challenging physical condition. Keeping up with new vaccinations, flu shots, and other preventative medication can also help with managing the illness. Older adults with cerebral palsy should avoid smoking or drinking too much, as it can do more harm than good. Greasy and fatty food should also be kept at bay.

What is the preferred type of exercise for older adults?

Older adults are more prone to inactivity if they have cerebral palsy. However, physical activity and regulated exercising can build muscle fitness and help in better mobility down the line. Some of the preferred exercises for older adults include:

  • Stretching: Stretching makes the muscles ready for some movement and allows them to remain active, especially after hours of inactivity. Adults with cerebral palsy suffer from involuntary muscle contractions or spasticity that can be helped with the help of calf stretching. Quadricep and hamstring stretch is for the thigh to help with better gait. Shoulder and arm stretches are just as important.
  • Joint Rotations: With old age, joint pain is a common problem many adults suffer from. It may become alleviated with cerebral palsy. After stretching the muscles, it is better to engage in joint rotation to create an accessible range of motion. Adults with cerebral palsy can experience stiffness in their joints, and hence promoting movement through rotations is essential. The important joints for rotating exercises are the neck, shoulders, knees, ankles, wrists, and elbows. 
  • Trunk Tilts and Twists: Trunk tilts and twists are meant for the upper body that requires stretching not covered in the basic exercises mentioned above. Trunk tilts require you to lie on the back and twist the torso to the right and left without moving the upper body. Trunk twists can be done standing and need the lower body to remain stationary as the torso twists as far as the muscles enable it.

Additionally, the intensity of these exercises can be increased as the body becomes used to them. One can add more activities to the exercise regimen to maintain mobility.

Which therapy is best for cerebral palsy?

Almost all older adults are eligible for progressive therapy that would improve the symptoms of the condition. However, there are different types of treatments for which an adult with cerebral palsy is eligible. They include the following:

  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is most commonly prescribed to any patient with cerebral palsy. Physical therapy aims at better motor coordination and helps maintain mobility. Auxiliary equipment can be used while exercising to help with movement if necessary.
  • Occupational Therapy: Occupational therapy helps the patient assimilate back into their community. It allows adults to do their daily chores by themselves to promote independence. It would also make them more hands-on with the activities.
  • Recreational Therapy: Recreational therapy also promotes mobility, however, through activities that engage the interest of patients. It not only helps promote physical activity but also actively works to improve the mental health of the individual. It helps patients improve their condition by doing something they want to do.


Cerebral palsy affects the muscles and causes stiffness of joints. Activities that help motor coordination and build muscle strength can positively impact the physical well-being of older adults with cerebral palsy. Certain lifestyle changes, such as therapy and eating healthy, can help patients cope better with their diagnosis. Exercises like joint rotations and scratching can also help promote movement and mobility. Physical therapy is the most necessary for older adults, followed by occupational and recreational therapy.