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Wheelchair to Water: Swimming with Cerebral Palsy

Swimming with Cerebral Palsy. From Wheelchair to Water

What are the benefits of swimming for individuals with physical challenges? As a physical therapist and adaptive swim lesson provider, the author highlights that the properties of water, such as buoyancy, viscosity, and hydrostatic pressure, can help physically impaired swimmers break free from the limitations of gravity and experience the freedom of movement in the water.

Picture of swim instructor and student in the pool exploring the benefits of swimming for individuals with physical challenges

The buoyancy of the water supports the body, allowing individuals with tight or loose muscle tones to explore new movement options and relax their muscles. Viscosity slows down movement and provides feedback to the nervous system, making it easier for individuals with neurological impairments to control their bodies and reduce the fear of falling. The hydrostatic pressure creates a calming effect on the body, releasing dopamine and reducing anxiety and frustration.

The author suggests various swim skill benchmarks, including flutter kicking, prone and supine float, and bobbing, to help swimmers with physical challenges improve their independence and quality of life. They also recommend using specialised equipment, such as booster fins and wrist weights, to assist swimmers in their movements and control the amount of buoyancy they receive.

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Overall, the article highlights the transformative power of swimming for individuals with physical challenges, allowing them to experience a sense of freedom and independence that may not be possible on land. The author encourages physical therapists and swim lesson providers to explore the properties of water and incorporate them into their therapy and teaching practices to help their clients achieve greater physical and emotional well-being.

Read more: https://swimangelfish.com/wheelchair-to-water-swimming-with-cerebral-palsy/


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