[Physical exercise for people with cerebral palsy: effects, recommendations and barriers].

Sharon Barak, Yeshayahu Hutzler, Gal Dubnov-Raz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The management goal of cerebral palsy (CP) is improving functionality, locomotion and independence. Treatment programs commonly encompass adapted physical activity (APA). This review summarizes the knowledge regarding the effects and recommendations for APA in persons with CP. In addition, barriers to APA in this population are reviewed. The available literature on benefits of APA to persons with CP has focused mainly on youth. The components of the APA programs generally consist of strength, aerobic and flexibility training. There is no empirical evidence that strength-training increases spasticity in people with CP. Furthermore, strength-training may increase strength and the ability to perform daily activities. Aerobic-training is especially important as persons with CP typically have low cardiorespiratory fitness and high prevalence of cardiac disease. However, limited published evidence exists on aerobic-training effects in this population. Nonetheless, the evidence suggests that aerobic-training in persons with CP can improve physiological outcomes, yet the influence of these changes on participation has not been investigated sufficiently. Stretching exercise is a common treatment for spasticity. Surprisingly, there is inconclusive evidence for the effectiveness of stretching exercise for persons with CP. Despite the importance attributed to APA for people with CP, low levels of physical activity have been reported in this population. However, when caregivers perceive greater benefits of exercise, individuals with CP are more likely to be active. In contrast, barriers to APA include costs of APA programs, limited means of transportation to APA facilities, lack of information regarding APA facilities and limited appropriate exercising equipment in the APA facilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-272, 305
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


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