Gym Stars

Meet our incredible, strong-willed, differently abled athletes. Life can be tricky at times for these warriors, but they never let their differences get in the way of having fun and getting strong! Let’s see what they get up to in their FUN physio!

‘Super-strong Zahra’

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This is Zahra’s favourite exercise in her Bumble Bee Physio sessions, she sure likes a challenge! Zahra has a bright yellow gym ball which she sits on to improve her core strength and her balance. She has some support at her legs and trunk from the physiotherapist, and she can reach out for bubbles, toys and high fives! Zahra is working towards having a strong core to prevent scoliosis, which is common with low muscle tone.

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This is Zahra practising her half kneeling. This is a wibbly wobbly challenging exercise but nothing is too difficult for Zahra! Zahra’s physiotherapist helps her get into this position, and she leans through the table in front of her for balance. Zahra is learning to extend her hips to strengthen her gluteus muscles, and she is working hard to keep her knee straight to strengthen her gluteus medius and to improve her balance. With lots of practice, Zahra’s goal is to stand up from this position with some support. Go Zahra!

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Here Zahra is working hard at sitting with her legs crossed. She is learning how to lift her head up to see what her friends are doing! She uses special superpower arm braces called gaiters, to help her extend her elbow to keep her body upright. When Zahra is sitting, she likes to watch her favourite singer, Olly Murs, on her tablet.

Zahra’s exercises are useful for children with low trunk tone or hypotonia, and high tone or hypotonia in their legs. Kneeling and sitting positions help to break up extension tone, while strengthening the core and trunk muscles, and improving head control. These exercises may be used for children with Rett Syndrome, Kabuki Syndrome, quadriplegic or diplegic cerebral palsy, and other neurological conditions.

‘Fast as a rocket Israel’

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This is Israel’s favourite exercise, because he LOVES football! Israel is working on his posture, to strengthen his upper back muscles and reduce his back pain. It will also help him have more energy to concentrate in class. He has a special bench adjusted by his physiotherapist in a special way to help him engage his core muscles. When Israel is sitting, he plays throw and catch with his physiotherapist, to challenge his core even more! Israel and his physio each choose a football team and they record their ‘goals’! Israel ALWAYS wins!

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Israel is practising his balance skills here! He wears his AFOs or ankle foot orthoses; special orthotics to make his legs strong. The physiotherapist helps stabilise Israel in all the right places,and uses Makaton to communicate with Israel and remind him to slow down! This exercise helps improve Israel’s balance, to prevent him falling over when he runs with his friends!

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Here Israel is strengthening his quadricep or thigh muscles! He is having a competition to see who is the strongest, him or his physiotherapist! Who do you think? Israel squeeeezes his knee down into the towel and lifts his foot up as high as he can. He is so strong that now his physiotherapist tries to push his foot down, and they see who can hold it the longest! This helps Israel to stabilise and protect his knee joint because he is hypermobile, he has extra bendy joints!

All of these exercises are useful for children with hypermobile (extra bendy) joints, reduced balance and co-ordination, frequent falls, and short attention spans. Some of these children may have autism, ADHD, sensory disorders, Angelman syndrome, joint hypermobility syndrome, or post-surgery such as tendon lengthening, as well as other conditions. These exercises help to improve strength in specific isolated muscles that are frequently weak or tight. They are then adapted into more compound and functional movements, and incorporated into play and sport activities, into school and learning where possible.

‘Brave and courageous Thomas’

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Thomas is putting his super strong core muscles into practice here, in high kneeling on his inflatable wobble cushion. This strengthens his glutes (hips) and adds a wibbly wobbly balance challenge at the same time! Thomas has races with his cars on the surface when high kneeling. When he progresses at this skill, he will begin to kneel without the surface in front of him.

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Here is Thomas standing leaning with one hand on a surface! He likes practising this skill while listening to his favourite music! This requires Thomas’ core to be switched on and activated, ready to save himself from falling. It also teaches Thomas to stand up tall, and keep his centre of gravity in the middle to prevent him falling over. When this skill gets easier, Thomas will be ready to try standing independently. Thomas is working on standing to stand up at his touch screen whiteboard in school and play games on it with his friends!

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Here is Thomas sideways walking, or ‘cruising’ along his table, to get to his favourite toy! He has worked so hard on this skill that now he is learning to bridge a gap, from one surface to the next! His physiotherapist knows just where to support him when practising this skill! Go Thomas! Cruising and bridging gaps gives infants that confidence boost of letting go with one hand, in a subtle and distracting way! When Thomas has mastered this skill, he will be ready to start standing and walking with one hand held.

These exercises are typically used for babies or young children  with global developmental delay who are learning to walk. All of these exercises improve balance and saving reactions and help children to learn to maintain their centre of gravity in upright anti-gravity positions. Usually, the next progression is independent walking. Sometimes these children have reduced confidence, and our physiotherapists are experts at handling, and have a magic ability to make your child feel safe, as well as challenging their balance in a fun and light hearted environment!