Dare to expand your physical limitations, but stay safe while doing so. Admittedly, these two concepts seem at odds with each other. Within your physical limits comes inherit safety. Trying to expand those limits leaves you vulnerable. Especially when you must add in cerebral palsy!
Just contemplate what expanding physical limitations entail. You push yourself until fatigue. Then you somehow keep going. An issue given fatigue causes diminished abilities. A factor those with cerebral palsy begin with entering the gym, literal or metaphorical. Basically you take poor balance to the second power.
Enough math though. If you fixate on the exponent, you miss my point. The fact expanding physical limitations with cerebral palsy proves tough. Still possible however! So mount up to the challenge. Use the following tips to stay safe while expanding your physical limitations.
Quick disclaimer, I am no medical professional or trainer. My advice stems from the best educator, personal experience.
Stay Safe Tip #1- Concentrate
Concentrate. Sounds basic right? Yet said concentration can easily become elusive.
Maybe you listen to music while exercising. A song can quietly grab your attention away. Or your mind slips to think about an event from earlier in the day. These lapses in focus will happen. Do not feel bad.
Instead react to remedy the situation. If needed, turn off the music. Another suggestion, take a few deep breaths. Personally, I use the “Clear the mechanism” trick from For Love of the Game.
Stay Safe Tip #2- Repeat
Mr. Personal Experience emphasizes repetition in his lesson plans. Hence I stick to a consistent exercise schedule. Maintaining consistency eventually leads to expanded limits.
Allow me to illustrate. Descending steps without a handrail tests me. A single misstep and I could encounter serious injury. Two years ago I began exercising regularly again. To improve my balance I work on descending steps without handrails.
Initially I only descended the last three steps on my staircase. Currently I am up to descending the last seven steps. An increase made possible in-part by repetition.
Stay Safe Tip #3- Reset
“In-part” stands a key term in the sentence above. Tip three, to reset, also assists. Many times descending I need to stop and reset. Some occasions my right ankle locks up. Other instances I fail to properly shift my weight. In such scenarios I reach out for the handrail or sit down on the step.
There exists no shame in stopping and resetting. Safety ranks your highest priority. After all, an injury means setbacks. Cerebral palsy already brings additional obstacles. Why add more?
Stay Safe Tip #4- Strategize
One way to reduce risks involves developing a strategy. Here cerebral palsy almost becomes an advantage. At least if you share commonalities with me.
See, growing up I received physical therapy (PT) weekly. Thanks to PT I came to know my body well. Knowledge I can utilize strategizing.
A great example lay within my half marathon training. My training leaves me walking all over, including near main roads. Whenever near main roads I ensure my left leg faces the street. Sturdier, Lefty controls falls better. Meanwhile I hate to imagine a fall with Righty closer to the street. Momentum would carry me into the street. An unnecessary danger strategy stifles.
Stay Safe Tip #5- Listen
Consider exercise a conversation. Your brain talks to your body, giving the body instructions. Your body in return supplies feedback. Listen!
Throughout my half marathon training my right ankle makes sure my brain listens. Immediately after a stumble I try to resume full speed. “Too much!” shouts my ankle via muscle tightness. I listen and slow down for a bit.
Contribute Your Own Safety Tip!
Do you possess a different tip? Please contribute. Leave a comment with your advice below. Together our wisdom can empower others with CP to safely push beyond physical limitations.