Home > Exercising > Exercising With Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

Exercising With Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

Exercising with cerebral palsy can be challenging and very frustrating. Luckily my type of cerebral palsy isn’t too severe. I am able, for the most part, to do any type of exercise that an able bodied person can do. I sometimes have to modify exercises such as jumping jacks or similar moves. To help with my bad balance I stand with something behind me, such as a couch or a bed. Just in case I fall, I’ll have something soft to land on. I also will hold on to a safety bar for support as I do standing leg exercises.

I have to watch out for injuries however more than “normal” people, as the strain on my joints is a bit harder than those of most people. My legs for instance bend inward as I put weight on them when I step, so I have to watch out for shin splints or foot injuries when I’m walking or am on my elliptical. I have to concentrate on my feet and leg positioning or else I have aches and pains in my lower legs. I have a habit of thinking that I can do anything like a “normal” person, so I push myself on certain exercises. I see how fast I can go on the elliptical or I do one too many shoulder presses. I end up with a sore shoulder or a sore leg as a result. I remind myself that it’s OK that I don’t do a mile in under 30 minutes. It’s OK that I only use the first two resistance levels on my elliptical. I remind myself that as long as I keep moving I’m doing something good for my body.

The hardest thing for me to do, is taking time off to heal from an injury. Right now as a matter of fact, I’m dealing with a sore foot. Due to me pushing the elliptical peddles hard and fast I lose focus, push with my toes and the insides of my feet and not push with the whole foot. Therefore, I now have muscle pain in my right foot, and need to take time off to let it heal. I’ve been off my elliptical now since last Monday, and I’m itching to get back on. I’m keeping up with my strength training so that is good, but I really want to get on and do a half mile on the machine. I’ll restrain myself though.

So, dealing with exercise and staying in shape while having cerebral palsy can be very frustrating. Our bodies are more susceptible to injuries than other people, and it takes longer sometimes to heal from an injury. But we have to keep moving (safely of course), no matter how little that movement is. As long as we keep moving, we can accomplish our goals and get healthier and stronger.

  1. August 4, 2009 at 7:06 pm


    Thank you so much for explaining about your type of cerebral palsy, what you can do and what causes problems for you. It will make nagging you to “keep moving!” so much easier. 🙂

    Good for YOU for giving your poor sore foot time to heal AND for continuing with your strength training. We do what we can, as best we can, right?

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