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Newtown Athletic Club in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, opened up a pilot program on May 1, exclusively for people with cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis.
CBS reports that the pilot program consists of a 12-week workout regime called UFIT. People with cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis get to train with a personal trainer throughout the duration of the program. The director of inclusive programming at the athletic club, Amanda Brown, said that participants can choose how often they want to participate during the 12-week session.
They get a free membership to the club and get to commit to personal training for those 12 weeks. They can choose once a week, twice a week, three times a week, and we’re kind of looking to measure how fitness can hopefully change their lives.”
The pilot program has already garnered a lot of attention. Clare Myers, who has a 13-year-old son with cerebral palsy, called the program a “godsend.”
It’s just a godsend to have some place for him to do something that is productive, that makes him feel good about himself. It helps him with his own self-esteem, which I’ve seen in the last two weeks.”
Although the program is not free, any participant who registers can utilize their free gym membership, according to Newtown Athletic Club’s official website. The program is open to 20 participants and if the first program goes well, additional opportunities for people to participate may follow.
Each participant must be at least 6 years of age and older and must be diagnosed with with either cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. Each participant must also provide clearance from their physician and must be able to participate at least once a week during the 12-week program.
For the May 1- July 22 program, fees started $25 per session for one 25-minute session per week, but goes down to $20 per session for three 25-minute sessions a week. You can also choose 50-minute sessions that start at $42.50 per session once a week, or $37.50 per session for three sessions per week.
Each personal trainer participating in UFIT holds a UFIT certification. For more information about possible upcoming programs, call 215-968-0600 ext. 155.
Benefits of Exercise for Children with Cerebral Palsy
Children with cerebral palsy need exercise just as much as anyone else, but they also have the added pressure due to the risk of their bodies aging prematurely as they get older. This is due to the added their stress their bodies endures because of the disorder. However, an exercise program helps people with cerebral not only fight off premature aging but also assists with better flexibility, health, sleep, body weight, and better sleep. Other benefits may include:
-Lessened severity of symptoms
-Improved sense of self
-Better strength and endurance
-Cardio respiratory fitness
-Reduced risk of developing osteoporosis
-Lower rate of developing Type 2 Diabetes
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Keep in mind that how much exercise your child with cerebral palsy needs and can withstand may vary greatly from the standard recommendation. Make sure to speak with your child’s physician before starting an exercise program.