Benefits of Early Mobility and Repetition

Repetition Exercise

Repetition Exercise

Let’s think about this. We all know the phrase, “If you don’t use it, you lose it”, right? Well, same goes for developing skills and muscles. Not that you lose it, but if you don’t get the opportunity to gain skills necessary for functional movement, it will be way harder to achieve those skills. If a child or adult is unable to work in certain positions or perform mobility (i.e. sitting by themselves, crawling, or standing), then it will be really challenging for them to achieve that goal you really want them to. With the appropriate support, even a child with the most severe disabilities can achieve new learning and new skills…they just need more REPETITION!

I always like to use the example of a baby learning to push up on their arms. A typically developing baby may need to perform that task 1000 times before they master it…BUT a child or adult with a neurological condition requires TEN TIMES the amount of repetitions in order to master it. THIS is why home exercise programs are so important and why limited therapy times could be inhibiting their progress. The more skills they are exposed to, for example a non-ambulatory child exposed to walking in a gait trainer or body-weight supported treadmill walking, the more they are learning and setting their bodies up for achieving new skills. This in no way means skipping developmental milestones. Obviously they are that way for a reason and ALL developmental skills need to be worked on, however being exposed to new positions and doing it daily to retrain your brain is so important with neurological conditions. Even children that are ambulatory … whatever goal you have for them and want them to work towards, the only way they are going to learn and make improvements is by doing more of that skill. There are a bunch of other things that go into it too with different ways to strengthen and breaking down movements… BUT you have to practice that skill to gain that skill!

Makes sense, right? It’s sometimes so obvious, yet not really realized. We, as typically developing adults SHOULD be exercising at least 30 minutes per day for our overall body’s health. Why would we think that a child with a neurological condition should be doing just that, or not even that sometimes? Food for thought 🙂

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Christine Astarita
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