Staying Strong Aging with Cerebral Palsy

Staying Strong Aging with Cerebral Palsy

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The following post includes Amazon affiliate links to products which help me continue feeling good while aging with cerebral palsy. As an Amazon affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Aging presents challenges for everyone. That proves especially true in the cerebral palsy community. Despite CP’s categorization as a non-progressive disorder. Like the Annals of Rehabilitation Medicine article “Emerging Issues in Cerebral Palsy Associated With Aging: A Physiatrist Perspective” notes, “Adults with CP manifest a higher rate of chronic health conditions and eventual decline in strength and functional reserve, deterioration in physical activity, increased risk of musculoskeletal complications, and gradual changes in swallowing ability.”

Sounds quite gloomy. Fear not though! I am here to offer some glimmering hope. A glimmer based off my experiences aging with cerebral palsy.

Back in 2017 when I entered my 30s I remarked within my Youtube video “Cerebral Palsy at 30 Years Old” feeling in “the best shape of my adult life.” A claim I supported months later through completing a marathon! Then double downed a year later, repeating the feat. Improving my time by over an hour-and-a-half!

As the years continued accumulating, so too did the views and comments on my aforementioned “Cerebral Palsy at 30 Years Old” video. One viewer Darlene commented, asking me to share how I managed to obtain and maintain my best shape. Specifically, she asked me to outline my exercise regimen, medications, diet, and other habits. Today’s post will address these subjects.             

Youtube viewer Darlene's comment inspired today's post about staying strong aging with cerebral palsy.

Please note while the subsequent activities and habits help me stay strong, they may not work for you or your loved one. Cerebral palsy can vary greatly per case. As such, you might want to consult your doctor, therapist, or another medical professional prior to implementing anything discussed below.      

Exercise

Given my lacking medical credentials, describing my exercise regimen stood an intimidating task. I am without the proper vocabulary to accurately describe my routines. In fact, said challenge remained the main reason a year-plus passed between Darlene’s comment and me creating this post.

Fortunately, a realization eventually manifested. I do not need to explain my exercise regimen using words. Rather, thanks to Youtube, I could show you! Exactly the motivation behind my videos showcasing my three different exercise routines.

Hands and Knees Routine
Stairs Routine
Miscellaneous Routine

Most exercises incorporated in my routines I started doing in physical therapy when a kid. Frequency wise I feel at my best exercising twice a week. Usually, I alternate routines to avoid doing the same routine consecutively. Therefore if I do my hands and knees routine on a Monday, Thursday or Friday I will do my stairs or miscellaneous routine.

Also, worth noting watching through my exercise videos you will notice a commonality. Amidst my muscle building exercises I do reverse crunches. As I stated in a previous testimonial video, I do reverse crunches daily. The everyday consistency led me to vastly improve my balance.     

Medications

In addition to my exercise regimen, Darlene asked about any medications I take. Alternative or not. I am on one prescription drug, baclofen. Taking the medication orally three times a day.

Unless you count the occasional pain reliever (Aleve or IcyHot) my medication list begins and ends with baclofen. Typically, the necessity for a pain reliever corresponds with drastic changes in temperature. An occurrence commonly accompanying fall and winter.            

Diet

Returning to more day-to-day issues, let me talk diet. Luckily, my cerebral palsy gives me a favorable metabolism. I say luckily because I know others with cerebral palsy who lack this CP benefit. Unlike those individuals I am able to eat without needing to track calories. Whatever I consume I easily burn off due to the extra energy I use simply to maneuver.

Now I mention my metabolism not to brag. Instead I wanted to establish context. Thus, enabling you to decide whether my dietary insights would apply to you.

Mostly I eat homecooked meals. Pasta proving a key staple. Macaroni and meatballs, Pasta Faggioli, and spaghetti and mushrooms just to name a few dishes. Generally, I will eat such meals for dinner twice a week. Then enjoy the leftovers later as lunch. The carbohydrates found in pasta does wonders helping me sustain my energy levels.

Alongside pasta, I believe peanut butter belongs in the “does wonders” category. Whenever I am low on energy, I turn to a snack featuring peanut butter. Peanut butter sandwiched between graham crackers or apple dipped in peanut butter. Afterwards I am re-energized.

Additionally, I incorporate peanut butter into my meals. Peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter banana and honey, peanut butter apple and honey all representing go-to sandwich lunch options. Since I am no nutritionist, I cannot explain with entire confidence the science behind peanut butter’s wonderful effects. I figure the protein in peanut butter plays a role.  

Assuming I understand Web MD correctly, protein builds and repairs tissues. Ergo seems logical to me protein’s building and repairing abilities correlate with the rejuvenated sensation I receive eating peanut butter. Nonetheless, to repeat I am not a nutritionist. I am merely answering a question about what has kept me staying strong aging with cerebral palsy.

Other Habits

Lastly, Darlene asked me to cover other habits instrumental in me feeling at my best despite aging. Certain habits stem from a larger habit. Listening to my body.

My years and years undergoing physical therapy left me attuned with my body. I am particularly sensitive to when my hamstrings require stretching. This meaning stretches supplemental to my exercise routines. Precise stretching I detail in my video “Cerebral Palsy Hamstring Stretches.”

Furthermore, I am quick to listen to my body once aches and pains flare up. Aches and pains which seemingly grow increasingly common as I continue getting older. Specifically, I noticed increased back pain in the winter months. An issue I counteract using a heating pad. 20 to 30 minutes with the heating pad upon discomfort’s initial ting, tends to eliminate further aches and pains for the day.          

Countering back pain stands an ongoing fight. Around my mid-20s I began experiencing lower back pain when sitting on hardback chairs. To try combatting I experimented sitting with a pillow behind my back. The cushion relieved my discomfort. Resultingly I decided to always keep a pillow nearby.

Always keeping a pillow nearby transitions you and I to other habits grown to become embedded in my daily routine. Habits done regularly enough to resemble a task as ordinary as showering! In fact, two helpful habits I seamlessly conjoined with showering.

First, after showering I use a pumice stone to shave down the calluses on my feet. Second, I apply PediFix’s All-Natural Tea Tree Ultimates Funga Soap to my washcloth and wash my feet. Although technically two habits, I merged them together. Considering the one-two punch my singular “foot care routine.” The combo leaving me feeling fresh on my feet.

Staying Strong Aging with Cerebral Palsy

Admittedly, I know I packed much into today’s post. Doing so without even going into many details. Instead, linking to my past content. I guess that fact indicates how involved you must remain to stay strong aging with cerebral palsy.

Nonetheless, as I hope this demonstrated staying strong aging with CP remains possible. Again, to repeat, I am not a medical professional or nutritionist. If any insights I shared intrigued you, please consult the appropriate professional about whether the insights could benefit you.

By chance you want further clarification from me regarding anything I mentioned above, ask away! Leave your questions in the comments below. Also, feel free to include any aging with cerebral palsy tips you possess.

Until next time, remember. Don’t blend in. Blend out!

-Zachary

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