Leg exercise recommendations for 5yo daughter? — Scope | Disability forum
If we become concerned about you or anyone else while using one of our services, we will act in line with our safeguarding policy and procedures. This may involve sharing this information with relevant authorities to ensure we comply with our policies and legal obligations.

Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.
Please read our updated community house rules and community guidelines.

Leg exercise recommendations for 5yo daughter?

beckyh Community member Posts: 1 Listener
edited January 2023 in Cerebral palsy
My 5 year old daughter has just been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. It seems a mild form but want to do everything I can to stop it getting worse. Can anyone recommend and exercises for the legs suitable for children?


  • Richard_Scope
    Richard_Scope Posts: 3,614 Scope online community team
    Hi @beckyh
    Great to meet you!

    Has your daughter been assigned a physiotherapist as yet? 

    Here are some exercises that you can try.

    Range of motion exercises should be practised at least twice a day to reduce joint stiffness, promote circulation, and stimulate the muscles.

    All kids with cerebral palsy can benefit from the range of motion exercises.

    Children with severe cerebral palsy should participate in passive range of motion exercises. These are when a trained therapist moves the child’s body for them, which stimulates and stretches the muscles and prevents blood from pooling in the limbs due to inactivity.

    When helping a child do passive range of motion exercises, be gentle and never force the body to move past its natural resistance. If your child says the exercises hurt or show signs of being in pain, don’t try to push through it. Instead, only complete movements in their pain-free range.

    Children that have muscle control should be encouraged to do range of motion exercises on their own as much as possible. These are called active range of motion exercises.

    Some active range of motion exercises your child can practice include:

    • Neck rotations (rotate the head in circles clockwise and counterclockwise)
    • Head turns (turning the head from side to side)
    • Shoulder shrugs (raise and lower your shoulders)
    • Arm circles (spread your arms to the sides so that your body makes a T shape and then move the arms in circles forward and backwards)
    • Elbow extensions (bend and straighten your elbows)
    • Wrist rotations (hold your forearm with your other hand to stabilize it and then move the hand in circles)
    • Finger clenching (make a fist so that all your fingers curl in and then straighten them back out)
    • Finger parting (join your fingers together so that they touching on the sides and then spread them out as far as you can)
    • Marches (sitting or standing, bend at the hip to raise your knee up like you’re marching, alternating legs)
    • Lateral leg raises (lie on your side, raise your top leg up as far as you can, then lower it)
    • Knee extensions (sit on a chair and repeatedly bend and straighten the knees)
    • Ankle rotations (rotate the ankles in circles)

    Getting into the pool is an excellent way for your child to practice walking and strengthen their muscles.

    The buoyant force of water is what makes people feel so light in water. This will take a lot of pressure off the joints and allow your child to focus on walking with the correct form.

    Water also has viscosity, which is what makes it difficult to walk really fast in water. This natural resistance will help strengthen your child’s muscles.

    There are all sorts of different exercises and activities your child can do in a pool.

    They can hold onto a boogie board and kick their feet, balance on a pool noodle, practice walking, or even just splash around. As long as your child is moving, the properties of water can help improve motor function.

    I hope that helps?

    Specialist Information Officer and Cerebral Palsy Programme Lead

    'Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

    Want to tell us about your experience in the community? Talk to our chatbot and let us know. 


Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.