Given that my Cerebral Palsy makes my muscles tighter than they should be I’m supposed to do a fair amount of physiotherapy to keep the stiffness at bay as much as possible.
It’s more than fair to say that my exercise regime and I have had an ever-changing relationship throughout my life. We’ve gone from loving each other to being arch enemies and back again more times than I would like to count. When I was a kid, it was the best thing ever. Most of what I needed to do could be done through playing. My appointments at the hospital felt to me like they consisted of climbing around on a big squishy play area, making things out of play-dough and the odd bit of stretching, but the pineapple juice and biscuits I got at the end more than made up for the last part.
Then, I started Primary School and realised that because I was in a mainstream school that none of my friends had to the boring stretch-y stuff, they only had to do all the playing parts so I refused to do them unless my parents made them more fun.
My mum spent hours making obstacle courses for me to run with a slide and a pot of bubbles at the end, and my dad would run them with me. I’d always win though because he was too big for the slide, but we’d share the bubbles anyway.
Being a 90s-kid I collected beanie babies and my very first one, a white and brown dog called Dippy, would be in charge of counting how many of the dull exercises I did each time by sitting in Mum’s hand. Dad and I did jigsaw puzzles and played hours of Polly Pocket to improve my fine-motor skills and give my left hand some you-will-do-what-I-tell-you training.
By the time I hit my teenage years this kind of magic wore off and I just plain refused to do any. This is something that I still regret to this day because I can’t help but think of how I could be even better than I am now if I’d put all the effort I put in these days while I was still growing.
When I was a kid I had a physio come out to see me once a week but now that I’m grown up and boring I only see someone whenever I get enough pain to feel like I need it. I look forward to these times of year even if there is usually a fair bit of discomfort that comes with it. Now that I’m old enough to know how lucky I am to still get access to this service I try to grab the chance with both hands, even if the grip with my left one is a bit suck-y. I’m at this stage again (the culprit this time is my left knee). I now have a new list of things to do I don’t mind it because at least I know that I’m still trying to help myself keep walking for that bit longer every time I do. The tasks may not be as fun anymore, but, as far as I’m concerned, you’re never too old for juice and biscuits after all your hard work.