Living an Active Lifestyle – For Adults with Cerebral Palsy

Living an Active Lifestyle – For Adults with Cerebral Palsy

Living an Active Lifestyle With CP

October 6th is World Cerebral Palsy Day

There is no better time than now to talk about this disorder that affects approximately 764,000 children and adults in the U.S.1

Not only will we fill you in on what it is, we’ll also share some great workout information (like how to calculate your target heart rate for cardio) that individuals who are and who are not affected by CP can apply to their routine.  

What is Cerebral Palsy?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines Cerebral Palsy as “a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture.”2  There are varying degrees of severity and some variants of the disorder itself. The CDC classifies them in 4 ways: 

A person with Spastic Cerebral Palsy has muscle stiffness which may affect the legs, the legs and arms, one side of the body, or, in severe cases, the whole body. Movement appears rigid and can be labor intensive. 

A person with Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy has muscle tone that can fluctuate from being too tight and stiff, to too loose. Muscle movement is difficult to control which can make movements slower or faster than what is typical. 

A person with Ataxic Cerebral Palsy has problems with coordination and balance. Quick or precise movements can be difficult to execute. 

Mixed Cerebral Palsy occurs when a person experiences symptoms that come from more than one type of Cerebral Palsy.

Is it Possible to Both Be Active and Have Cerebral Palsy? 

Physical activity is great for the body, the heart, and the mind. This is something most of us have learned and had ingrained in our memory since childhood. With so many obstacles to free movement, you might wonder how someone with CP can exercise. 

The American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) reminds us that the recommended amount of weekly cardio for adults is 150 minutes.3 They go on to say that “there is no evidence to suggest that these requirements should be any different for people with cerebral palsy.”3   

How to Be Active When Living with Cerebral Palsy

The following tips are straight from the Fact Sheet provided by the AACPDM. You can view the full document here.  

Remember that some exercises may not be safe or possible if you are experiencing certain limitations, so be sure to consult your doctor so you understand the right options for you. 

Tip #1: Do Exercises That Build Strength and Endurance 

To build muscle, you’ll need to increase the resistance, or the weight your muscles have to move. To build endurance, you’ll need to increase the repetitions, or the number of times you complete a movement. The AACPDM recommends that you should: 

  • Aim for a maximum of 10 repetitions.  
  • Start with 1 set. With time, as it becomes easier, start to increase your sets. 
  • Take at least 1 day of rest between strength training a single muscle group. 3

Tip #2: Exercise Your Heart 

To exercise your heart, you’ll need to know what your maximum heart rate is and set a goal to exercise at 40 – 85% of that maximum. Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. 

To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. 3 For example, if you are 20 years old, (220 – 20 = 200), your maximum heart rate is 200.  

Now that you have your maximum, you can calculate the heart rate you should aim for when you do cardio. All you have to do is multiply your maximum heart rate by 40% (0.40) and then do a new calculation and multiply by 85% (0.85) instead. Don’t forget to convert the percentage into a decimal by dividing it by 100.  

For example, if your maximum heart rate is 200, you would do the following calculation: 

200 x 0.40 = 80 beats per minute 

200 x 0.85 = 170 beats per minute 

Now you know that, to effectively exercise your heart, you need to get your heart rate between 80 and 170 beats per minute.  

The AACPDM recommends that you start at a rate of 40% and increase your target rate gradually. 3

Tip #3: Work on Improving Your Range of Motion 

Improving your range of motion simply means that you are improving your flexibility. The more flexible you are, the easier it is to do common daily activities like sitting, reaching, and bending. 

The AACPDM reminds us that yoga and stretching are not the only ways to improve flexibility. Using your full range of motion while doing your strength training exercises is also a way to improve the flexibility of your muscles. 3  

They also talk about how dynamic stretches help improve the muscle’s functionality and strength.3 Dynamic stretches get your body moving and warmed-up, so they are often done before you start working out.4

 

The Takeaways

Living an active lifestyle is not necessarily exclusive to people of a certain level of ability. Even though Cerebral Palsy affects motor function, exercise is still possible if you respect the limitations in your movement and adhere to the guidance of your doctor.  

However, depending on the exact nature of your condition, physical activity simply may not be for you. If this is the case, don’t lose hope! Talk to your doctor to find out what you can do to still care for your health without doing harm to your body. 

For more ideas on how to move more and sit less, read our post, 6 Ways to Decrease the Time You Spend Sitting. If you’re not looking to lose weight and instead, you’re looking to put on some healthy pounds, listen to our podcast on How to Gain Healthy Weight.

To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today!

SOURCES 

  1. “Cerebral Palsy Information.” Cerebral Palsy Guidance, 2019, www.cerebralpalsyguidance.com/cerebral-palsy/research/facts-and-statistics/. 
  2. “What Is Cerebral Palsy? | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/facts.html. 
  3. “Cerebral Palsy Information.” Cerebral Palsy Guidance, The American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, www.cerebralpalsyguidance.com/cerebral-palsy/research/facts-and-statistics/. 
  4. “The Benefits of Dynamic Stretching and How to Get Started.” Healthline, www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/dynamic-stretching. 

Cholesterol and Exercise – How to Manage Your Numbers Naturally

Cholesterol and Exercise – How to Manage Your Numbers Naturally

(Evidence Based)

Does Exercise Help Manage Cholesterol?

Typically, we might hear that changing our dietary habits is the key to reducing bad cholesterol and to increasing good cholesterol. However, studies have shown that exercise also plays an important role in cholesterol management. 

Combining proper nutrition and regular exercise is the key to healthy cholesterol numbers. 

The research appears to disagree on whether the frequency or intensity of the exercise is important to improving cholesterol. However, the consensus lies in the duration of exercise.  

From Kodama and colleagues’ review of over 25 studies, all seem to agree that regular aerobic exercise, performed for a longer amount of time per session, is what will lead to improvement in overall cholesterol levels. 

What are HDLs and LDLs? 

Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to talk about some of the key terms we’ll be using. 

LDL – Low-Density Lipoprotein is what’s commonly termed “bad cholesterol.” High levels of this stuff are what put you at risk for cardiovascular complications

HDL – High-Density Lipoprotein is what we like to call “good cholesterol.” This is what carries bad cholesterol and triglycerides to the liver in order to get rid of them. 

Triglyceride – These come from the fats you consume. Like LDL, a high amount of triglyceride is also linked to cardiovascular disease

What Can Exercise Do for Cholesterol? 

A study on activity and cholesterol found that physically active individuals had lower levels of LDL and Triglyceride, and higher levels of HDL, than individuals who lived a sedentary (non-active) lifestyle. 

The levels of activity among the participants were mixed. This means that low, moderate, and high intensity exercises all made a difference. This is great news for people who are afraid to start exercising for fear they aren’t “fit enough” to exercise. If this is you, read our post on The Common Misconception of Getting Fit Before Joining a Gym

Exercises You Can You Do to Lower LDLs and Raise HDLs 

Regardless of our suggestions, you should choose an exercise that you can comfortably do for extended periods of time. It may also be necessary to have your doctor monitor how your heart responds to any new exercise routine.  

The American Heart Association recommends about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week (that’s about 30 minutes a day if you’re working out 5 days a week), or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.  

You can mix and match different amounts of moderate and vigorous exercise. The idea is to aim for some amount of time in the AHA’s general ballpark and work your way to a level that feels good for you.  

Aerobics

Aerobic exercises include activities like jogging, running, swimming, bicycling, dancing, and others that elevate your heart rate. 

To effect cholesterol, one study suggests that an effective level of weekly exercise is approximately 17 to 18 miles of jogging at a moderate pace. If that’s too much, 11 miles is still effective but to a lesser degree.  

If 30 minutes a day sounds a bit vague, this jogging recommendation may give you a more focused perspective on how much exercise you should aim for.  

Low to Moderate Intensity Resistance Training 

Resistance training may involve the use of objects, like dumbbells, or your own body weight to improve your muscle strength, tone, mass, or endurance. Examples include lifting free weights, bench press, deadlift, squats, lunges, and more. 

A review conducted by Mann and colleagues investigates the effects of resistance training on cholesterol. Their findings suggested that low to moderate intensity workouts were just as effective as high-intensity workouts! More good news! 

This type of exercise can be done independently to improve cholesterol or be paired with aerobic exercise. 

Conclusions

Long story short: 

  1. Regular exercise, performed for extended periods of time, is the big game changer
  2. Cardio and resistance training are shown to improve cholesterol
  3. It’s more about quality than quantity

To learn from our Registered Dietician, Debbie James, about how to lower cholesterol with the right food choices, read the answers to her Q&As on low carb and low fat diets and cholesterol friendly foods. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today!

Sources

  1. “American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids.” Www.heart.org, 2018, www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults.

     

  2. Kodama, Satoru, et al. “Effect of Aerobic Exercise Training on Serum Levels of High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol.” Archives of Internal Medicine, American Medical Association, 28 May 2007, jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/486847.

     

  3. Kraus, William E, et al. “Effects of the Amount and Intensity of Exercise on Plasma Lipoproteins: NEJM.” New England Journal of Medicine, 2002, www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa020194#t=article.

     

  4. Mann, Steven, et al. “Differential Effects of Aerobic Exercise, Resistance Training and Combined Exercise Modalities on Cholesterol and the Lipid Profile: Review, Synthesis and Recommendations.” SpringerLink, Springer International Publishing, 31 Oct. 2013, link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-013-0110-5.

     

  5. Skoumas, John, et al. “Physical Activity, High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol and Other Lipids Levels, in Men and Women from the ATTICA Study.” Lipids in Health and Disease, BioMed Central, 12 June 2003, lipidworld.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-511X-2-3.
HIIT Play: High Intensity Interval Training – Podcast Ep. 13

HIIT Play: High Intensity Interval Training – Podcast Ep. 13


Welcome to the 13th episode of the Living Healthy Podcast, presented by LA Fitness.

On this episode of Living Healthy, we bring back to the show LA Fitness Master Trainer, and pun-master, Geoff Fox who shares his knowledge on high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

How Are We Doing? 


This podcast should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.


Timecard Markers – HIIT Play: High-Intensity Interval Training – Podcast Ep. 13 

Warning: Puns Ahead

Begins at 0:01  

Master Trainer, Geoff Fox joins the show 

Begins at 2:08 

Are HIIT Workouts Done with PT Clients? 

2:22 

Is There a Difference Between Strength vs. Cardio HIIT? 

2:59 

Do You Want to Follow HIIT Up with Additional Cardio?  

4:38 

Is HIIT for Everyone? What About Those with Heart Conditions? 

5:33 

Can HIIT Build a Healthier Heart? 

6:50 

On Tracking Heartrate  

7:22 

Solo HIIT vs. Group HIIT 

9:04 

Do You Have to Consume More Calories to Participate in HIIT? 

10:50 

Understand What Your Calorie Needs Are Prior 

14:21 

Has HIIT Been Around for Long? 

15:37 

HIIT – Not Just for Athletes 

17:41 

Actionable Advice – The Top 3 Benefits of HIIT  

19:30 

Outro  

20:50 


Recommended Podcast Episodes 

Quick & Easy Workouts for a Busy Morning

Quick & Easy Workouts for a Busy Morning

The alarm clock rings. You open your eyes. Hop out of bed. Get dressed. Feed the kids and/or dog or cat. Check your schedule. Check the clock. Feed the kids and/or dog or cat. Wait… you’ve already done that. Run out the door. Forget your keys. Run back into the house, grab your keys. Get in the car. Realize you’ve forgotten your coffee. Exhale – already exhausted.

Hello, work day. Great to see you again.


With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, how on Earth is it possible to make time for working out? Especially in the mornings!

Between taking care of the family, putting in the hours at work, paying the bills, and still managing to make time for others, you are the Hero-of-the-Everyday.

However, every great hero needs to make sure they are putting in the time and effort to stay strong enough to keep being their super-selves.

And that’s why self-care is so important.

Exercise helps us function, move better, feel better, and make healthier choices throughout the day.

Here are a few quick and easy workouts to get the blood pumping and those endorphins flowing so you can conquer your day.


PLANK AWAKE

Drop and give me a plank till exhaustion! Assume proper plank position and hold it for as long as you can. Don’t forget to keep your core tight and engaged, and your body in correct alignment. Don’t let your bottom half start rising upwards towards the ceiling.

BEDFRAME WAKE UP PUSHUPS

Grab a hold of the edge of your bed (the bed frame) and make sure it’s strong enough to support your weight. Take a few steps away from your bed, with your arms still firmly grasped to the framing. Once you’re at a proper angle to begin pushups, go ahead and get started! Complete as many as you can.

MORNING MADNESS BURPEES

Get some cardio in quick with early morning burpees. This full body exercise uses your own bodyweight to work your arms, legs, and core. It’s a fast way to increase heartbeat and quickly burn off some calories while simultaneously building muscle strength.


Bonus: If you’re able to wake up extra early to make it into an LA Fitness, we offer early morning Group Fitness classes that may help jumpstart your day and give you the extra motivation you need to push yourself harder than you would on your own. Just don’t forget to grab a pre- or post-workout snack!

This article is sponsored by belVita – breakfast for your mornings. For a list of hours to visit your favorite LA Fitness gym, click here.


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Zumba®: A Fitness Fan’s Happy Hour – Podcast Ep. 4

Zumba®: A Fitness Fan’s Happy Hour – Podcast Ep. 4


Welcome to the 4th episode of the Living Healthy Podcast, presented by LA Fitness.

Working out doesn’t have to feel like work! Bring your after-work happy hour to the gym for a Zumba® fitness party! Burn calories, make friends and learn why so many people love this form of exercise. On this episode of Living Healthy, Andrew and I take a Zumba® class and speak with Zumba® instructor, Ana. Who knew burning calories could be so much fun? Have a listen and find out why Zumba® just might be your new favorite group fitness class! 

Are you passionate about a certain class? Do you find enjoyment in cardio or strength training? Let us know what YOU would you like to hear about! Share with us in the comments below!

How Are We Doing? 


Timecard Markers – Zumba®: A Fitness Fan’s Happy Hour – Podcast Ep. 4

Introduction

Begins at 0:29

Zumba® Instructor, Ana, joins the show

Begins at 2:52

Different Zumba® Styles

Begins at 5:28

Dance Battle

Begins at 6:50

BetterBodSquad

Begins at 8:29

Advice for Newcomers

Begins at 8:52

The Member Experience

Begins at 11:37

What to Bring

Begins at 16:02

Member Success Stories

Begins at 19:13

Show Wrap-up

Begins at 22:24

This podcast should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.


Recommended Podcast Episodes 

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