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Balance Exercises for Individuals with Cerebral Palsy: How to Develop More Stability

cerebral palsy balance exercises can help your child become more independent and safe

Wondering what the best cerebral palsy balance exercises are?

Damage to the cerebellum will result in ataxic cerebral palsy. This type of cerebral palsy directly affects balance and coordination.

However, children with spastic or dyskinetic CP can also experience balance problems as a result of spasticity or uncontrollable movements.

Regardless of what type of cerebral palsy your child has, practicing balance exercises can help them strengthen weak muscles, minimize falls, and become more independent.

Core-Strengthening Cerebral Palsy Balance Exercises

The core is responsible for maintaining balance, so developing strong core muscles will help improve balance skills.

This article will share 5 balance-boosting exercises for children with cerebral palsy.

Let’s get started!

1. Horseback Riding

hippotherapy cerebral palsy balance exercises

Horseback riding is a very popular form of exercise for children with cerebral palsy.

In fact, it’s an established therapeutic intervention called hippotherapy.

This is a really fun way for children with cerebral palsy to develop their balance skills.

Because the horse is moving, children continuously have to adjust their center of gravity to stay balanced.

The more they practice this, the better their balancing skills get.

Similarly, they’re so distracted interacting with the horse that they don’t realize how much they’re engaging their core muscles.

2. Walking in the Pool

buoyancy and viscosity to practice cerebral palsy balancing exercises

Moving around in the pool is a great way to practice walking because the buoyant force of water makes your child feel weightless and takes a lot of pressure off the joints.

This will allow your child to get a feel for how to walk with correct form.

The deeper your child’s body is submerged in water, the lighter they will feel. For example, if your child stands in a pool where the water is up to their knees, there will be more pressure on their joints than if the water was up to their chest.

Another valuable property of water is its viscosity (resistance). This is what makes it challenging to move quickly underwater and will help reduce the impact of a fall. Because of water resistance, walking or swimming in a pool is a great way to strengthen weak arm and leg muscles too.

Sitting on a pool noodle in the water is also a great (and fun) way for a child to challenge their balance and work on strengthening their core. Sitting with the pool noodle between their legs will likely be easier than sitting on it like a swing, but both ways are great to practice.

3. Playing on an Exercise Ball

child practicing cp balancing exercise with stability ball

Most kids will see the giant ball and immediately think it’s a toy. Luckily, playing is one of the best ways for children to improve their mobility. They’ll want to bounce the ball around, sit on it, and lean their entire bodies over it.

Take advantage of their interest.

The ball’s unstable surface will force your child to practice shifting their weight and experiment with movement to find a balancing point.

There are also different types and sizes of exercise balls to try out. For example, a large, round exercise ball is much harder to sit and balance on than a peanut ball. Depending on your child’s needs, they may be challenged by one type of ball over another.

4. Deep Breathing 

deep breathing exercise to strengthen core muscles

Take a deep breath. Did you notice how your core tightens, chest expands, and back straightens?

When you inhale, your diaphragm moves down to allow your lungs to expand and fill with air.

Deep breathing promotes trunk stability by engaging the core and enhancing posture.

Another benefit of deep breathing is that you can practice it almost anytime you want. You don’t need any equipment and can practice it sitting, lying down, or standing.

To make this more fun for kids, you can encourage them to use their imagination: Breathe in through the nose like you’re smelling flowers; breathe out through the mouth like you’re blowing out birthday candles.

5. Swinging

balance exercises for children with cerebral palsy

Playing on the swings can be a fun balance exercise for children with mild cerebral palsy.

Make sure your child holds on to the chains tightly and gently start swaying the swing back and forth.

Learning how to swing will teach your child how to shift their weight to maintain their balance.

The back and forth leaning motions will also help strengthen your child’s core.

Cerebral Palsy and Balance

Balance skills play a crucial role in a child’s mobility, safety, and independence.

As children with cerebral palsy grow, they generally will get heavier, and it can become more difficult for them to stay balanced.

Therefore, it’s essential to practice balance exercises as early as possible to minimize future complications.

Hopefully, this article helped you better understand how balancing problems can affect a child with cerebral palsy and why it is so important to practice exercises that strengthen their trunk muscles.

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You’re Really on a Roll: Discover a Program for CP That’s Actually Fun to Do!

At Flint Rehab, we understand that doing physical therapy at home can become tedious and repetitive. But when repetition is critical to recovery, it’s important to stick with a repetitive regimen. But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

Flint Rehab is the leading manufacturer of motion-sensing, gamified rehabilitation devices. Our bestselling recovery tool, FitMi, transforms full-body rehab exercises into an interactive experience.

See what individuals with CP are saying about FitMi:

“The FitMi and MusicGlove have done wonders for my son with hemiparesis from cerebral palsy and stroke. It motivates him to do his exercises. It does not seem like therapy for him since it is fun. FitMi monitors his progress so it is a great reinforcement for him. Music is a motivator for him. He has been using it on his arm and we will try the leg exercises soon.”


While FitMi is a recovery tool for the full-body, our other device, MusicGlove, helps target the hand to improve fine motor skills and dexterity.

See what others have said about MusicGlove:

“My granddaughter has right-side hemiplegia from Cerebral Palsy / stroke at birth. She states that this is a great product for anyone who has issues with the use of their hand(s), and that is has helped her tremendously. She also finds the music quite catchy (surprisingly!). Our occupational therapist has been impressed as well. I can say that it has arguably been the best tool of all our therapy resources.”


Together, FitMi and MusicGlove make a powerful home therapy regimen for individuals with cerebral palsy. Best of all, you can save money when you bundle them together.

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