Exercise is healthy for everyone - including people with CP. In fact, regular physical activity starting from the childhood years (and up) is especially healthy for children with CP. Exercise supports motor skills development while also counteracting the development of contractures and muscular dystrophy.
A more efficient brain
Neurological research now recognises that our brains are constantly changing. This phenomenon is called neuroplasticity, and the changes happen in all of us - children as well as adults - throughout our lives. New networks are constantly forming, and being physically active affects your brain.
Performing any kind of activity triggers changes in the connections between the nerve cells in your brain and their properties, and it also helps optimise the circuits in your brain that govern your movements.
Neuroplasticity - that is, the brain’s ability to change - is absolutely fundamental to the brain’s functions, but there are different types of influences that especially support neuroplasticity, training being one of them.
When you are physically active, you become better at what we commonly refer to as ‘learning’. Essentially, the circuits in your brain which are used to govern your movements or perform cognitive functions are optimised each and every time you carry out an activity, i.e. mobilise a behaviour.
Neuroplasticity - that is, the brain’s ability to change - is the basic method behind the brain’s functions, but there are different types of influences that especially support neuroplasticity.
These are determined by the type of stimuli that trigger neuroplasticity. However, the common feature of all types of neuroplasticity is that they are activity-dependent. This means that an impulse is required to fire up the neural networks, and the more frequently they are activated and thereby used, the better and more effective they become.
Our adaptable brain
When the brain is ‘working’, the neural networks are activated by a sensory input; a reaction or feedback from organs in the body. The brain then finds the most efficient network in relation to performing the task you are preoccupied with and activates it.
This means that your brain only uses the amount of energy that is necessary, and it also ensures that your brain retains enough energy reserves to remain ready and dynamic all the time. When we refer to the brain as being ‘plastic’, it means that it is constantly able to adapt. It can change its networks to function optimally for any given situation