Did you know that children with cerebral palsy can live full, active lives and engage in sports? In fact, doing so could improve the quality of their life as well as yours and help to prevent their condition from worsening due to inactivity. Find out how sports can benefit your child and why you might want to sign them up to play today!
Benefits of Sports for Children With Cerebral Palsy
Children with cerebral palsy can see immense benefit from playing sport and can remain safe while doing so. Here’s how:
Increased Muscle Strength
One of the primary challenges facing children with CP is lower muscle strength and tone. A lack of activity can compound these problems as their existing muscles atrophy. Children who are engaged in sports have the ability to use their muscles and maintain or improve their strength. It also gives them the motivation to work out and build muscle that is vital for their quality of life.
Better Overall Physical Health
Children with CP face the same health risks that we all do from a lack of physical activity, including the following conditions associated with a sedentary lifestyle:
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Type II diabetes
It’s easy for children with CP to fall into a rut and for parents to think that’s normal. However, your child needs regular physical activity as much as any other. Playing sports could be a great way for your child to get some reps in.
Improved Mental Health
Children that engage in sports can see improved mental health outcomes, and the same goes for those with CP. With sports, your child will be able to continue to develop their social skills and make friends along the way. It can also relieve some of the feelings of frustration that children with CP can experience. They can also see themselves as playing “just like the other kids” and feel less apart.
It’s Good For You
Raising a child with CP is hard for anyone, and enrolling your child in sports can make it easier for the same reasons that it benefits your child. Additionally, children need some time apart from their parents and vice versa to have the healthiest relationships. Giving your child something to do, and yourself some time away from them, can improve your relationship with them and yourself.
It Protects Them For The Future
No one wants to see their child’s cerebral palsy get worse with age. Getting your child started with sports now can encourage them to maintain healthy habits that will protect them in the future. If your child begins regularly engaging in strenuous physical activity now, they may be able to protect themselves from their condition worsening as they get older.
Can Children With Cerebral Palsy Compete in Sports?
In short, yes! Children with cerebral palsy can compete against other athletes thanks to the CP8 system, a sports classification system that creates 8 different classes of CP players based on their condition. Children with CP can win awards based on these tiers and come home champions just like any other.
If your child has cerebral palsy, it’s normal to worry for their future, both in terms of what they’ll be able to accomplish and how their health will change. The good news is that by encouraging your child to participate in sports, you can do much to protect them from some of the key dangers they’ll face throughout life. Sports can also improve your child’s mental health and self-image and give them the confidence they need to take advantage of life’s opportunities.