Exercise for people with cerebral palsy

La Trobe University doctoral candidate and physiotherapist, Theofani Bania and colleagues conducted a review which determined that exercise and online support programmes can increase habitual physical activity in people with cerebral palsy.

exerciseCerebral palsy is a physical condition that primarily affects movement. In Australia, every 18 hours a child is born with the condition. This is the first systematic review evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to improve habitual physical activity of people with cerebral palsy.

Like the rest of the population, inactivity puts people with cerebral palsy at great risk of developing secondary health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, obesity and type II diabetes says Theofani.

‘To determine if habitual physical activity could be increased we searched electronic databases until February 2010 using key words related to concepts of cerebral palsy and physical activity, this search was supplemented with citation tracking,’ she says.

Studies had to include participants with cerebral palsy who have habitual physical activity measured over at least one day after a therapy intervention.

‘Structured exercise and online behavioural programmes can increase daily physical activity of people with cerebral palsy and any benefits in daily physical activity appear to be reduced or lost after the programme finishes suggesting long-term benefit maintenance programmes may need to be implemented,’ Theofani says.

‘It is important to keep physical activity habitual as we have found that when these programmes stop, activity is not maintained,’ she says.

Habitual physical activity can be increased in people with cerebral palsy: a systematic review was published in the journal, Clinical Rehabilitation, 25 June 2011.


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