Cerebral Palsy: Sport and Exercise Considerations

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2021 Jan 1;20(1):19-25. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000798.


Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of debilitating motor disorders that carries a wide array of clinical presentations ranging from isolated physical or cognitive impairment to global loss of function. Despite the prevalence of CP, recommendations and benefits of physical activity/exercise have historically not been clearly defined. The research on the subject has several limitations, including small sample size, power, standardized measures/outcomes, and poor classification regarding severity of the disease. Nonetheless, the general consensus and new research shows that individuals with CP who participate in sports and exercise regimens, even at reduced frequency and intensity, exhibit improvements in health care benefits, including cardiorespiratory endurance, gross motor function, gait stability, and reduction in pain. These regimens can be prescribed safely and individualized by health care providers to improve morbidity and mortality in patients suffering from CP.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / rehabilitation*
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Sports*