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Physical Activity, Trips, Events

What you need to know

Physical Education:

  • It is important for a child muscular dystrophy to have an opportunity for physical activity to optimize physical and mental health.
  • Certain syndromes will have very specific recommendations regarding physical exercise and restrictions.
    • Exercise is important and should be encouraged
    • Individuals may be able to exercise but not participate in contact sports
    • All ambulatory children should participate in gentle exercise to avoid contractures and muscle wasting.
    • Activities can include a combination of swimming pool and recreation-based activities.
    • Individuals with muscle pain during or after exercise activity should be monitored for myoglobinuria (myoglobin in the urine).
      • Muscle pain within 24 hours after exercise indicates overexertion leading to rhabdomyolsis (rapid destruction of skeletal muscle)
    • Strengthening exercises may cause damage to fragile muscle cells if done too vigorously.
    • Moderate and light exercise or standing exercises, undertaken under the guidance of a physical therapist (PT) or doctor is important.
      • This may help maintain muscle tone and flexibility
      • This may help combat obesity and bone thinning
    • Boys with DMD and BMD should not:
      • Lift weights
      • Do push ups and/or pull ups
      • Abdominal crunches

What you can do

  • Encourage academic, social, and artistic activities
  • Allow child to help with coaching or team management if there are physical restrictions
  • Consider a 504 Plan in school for physical activity modifications if appropriate
  • Instruct in self-monitoring techniques so child learns to judge his/her own fatigue level during exercise.
    • Provide opportunities for practicing self-monitoring
    • Instruct in relaxation techniques, safety, and breathing
  • Consider adapting PE program
    • Downsize equipment – i.e. smaller bat
    • Have a designated runner
    • If activity can’t be modified to be safe, have child be a scorekeeper, umpire etc.
  • Occupational therapy evaluation may help with accommodations and modifications
  • Some individuals may need additional time to get to class
    • Limit extra movement between classes

Field Trips:

  • If there is to be a lot of walking on the field trip it is important to be aware that it may take the child more time and they may be tired
    • Consider cutting down on walking when possible
    • Use alternative forms of transportation
  • Assistive equipment (see Education Supports for examples) is available to improve accessibility and independence in the home, school, automobile and workplace.