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Exercise and the Stroke Survivor

By HERWriter
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Fitness related image Photo: Getty Images

The experience of a stroke and its aftermath can leave the survivor with crippling limitations and pain. Most recovery will happen during the first six months or so but more restoration can occur for years afterward, especially if you make a deliberate effort to be active.

Each stroke survivor faces a unique set of difficulties and challenges. Their common goal for exercise though is to strengthen weakness and increase abilities, enhancing quality of life.

Your attention should be focused on things you have trouble doing. If you have trouble walking, a skilled physical therapist can enable you to regain strength and balance, so that you can begin a gentle but regular walking regimen.

Take precautions where indicated, for instance if you are unsteady on your feet, consider a walking stick or cane, or a walker to support you as you start out. See your doctor for guidance as to your own individual exercise plan.

Do you have numbness or restricted movement in your arms? Exercising your arms can increase blood circulation, and help to bring health back.

Is use of one arm impaired? Make a point of not using your good arm, so the other arm gets a workout on a regular basis.

Stretch muscles to decrease pain and stiffness, and increase strength and flexibility.

Research from a Cochrane review reported on Todaysseniorsnetwork.com indicated that walking can make a big difference for stroke survivors whose ability to walk has been diminished.

Participants in the study walked at least three days a week, for at least 20 minutes per walk. Researchers found that walking increased a stroke survivor's strength although they did not see an increase in physical function or mobility.

According to a March 4, 2011 article on Sciencedaily.com, recovery after stroke can be enhanced by involvement of your family in your exercise therapy. Balance, motor skills and ability to function in every day life may benefit when family members help the stroke survivor do their exercises.

In a study performed at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland, recovery for stroke survivors was accelerated and relatives who participated felt better as well because they were able to do useful for their afflicted family member.

Research was published in the March, 2011 print edition of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. Funding for the study was provided by the Irish Heart Foundation, Medical Research Charities Group, The Friends of the Royal Hospital Donnybrook, the O'Driscoll/O'Neill bursary, the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists and the Seed Funding Scheme in University College Dublin.

The National Stroke Association estimated that 4 million Americans deal with the after effects of stroke.


Movement and Exercies After Stroke

Exercise Training after Stroke helps patients walk faster, longer

Stroke Patients Benefit from Family Involvement in Exercise Therapy

Visit Jody's website and blog at http://www.ncubator.ca and http://ncubator.ca/blogger

Reviewed July 5, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Alison Stanton

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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