Cruz (2012) The Effects of Aquatic Exercise on Gait Parameters in Children with Cerebral Palsy

Introduction: Aquatic Exercise and Cerebral Palsy

Aquatic exercise has emerged as a promising therapy for children with cerebral palsy (CP), aiming to enhance their gait parameters and overall mobility. This innovative approach, explored in a thesis by Robert D. De La Cruz at California State University, Northridge, underscores the potential of water-based activities in the field of kinesiology and rehabilitation.

Background and Significance

Cerebral palsy, a prevalent childhood disability, significantly affects movement and posture due to disturbances in the developing brain. Traditional therapies have focused on land-based exercises, but aquatic environments offer unique benefits, such as reduced joint stress and enhanced support for postural control, making it an ideal setting for rehabilitation in CP.

Methodology and Intervention

The study involved a rigorous aquatic exercise program designed for children with CP, conducted at the Center of Achievement at California State University, Northridge. Participants engaged in tailored sessions, focusing on improving balance, strength, and gait functionality through carefully structured water-based activities.

Findings and Implications

Preliminary results suggest that aquatic exercise can lead to notable improvements in gait parameters among children with CP. This includes enhanced balance, stride length, and overall walking efficiency. These findings advocate for the integration of aquatic therapy into standard CP treatment protocols, offering a new dimension to pediatric rehabilitation.

Conclusion and Future Directions

Aquatic exercise presents a viable and effective therapy option for children with cerebral palsy, with the potential to significantly improve quality of life. Further research and larger-scale studies are encouraged to fully understand the impact and optimize therapy strategies. California State University, Northridge, continues to be at the forefront of this exploration, contributing valuable insights to the field of kinesiology and therapeutic sciences.

Keywords: California State University, Northridge, aquatic exercise, cerebral palsy, gait parameters, children, therapy, kinesiology.

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