Following a stroke you should know that exercise is very important for stroke recovery and for preventing another stroke. Only slightly more than half (57%) of stroke survivors are getting regular exercise, according to a survey of 11,862 men and women who had survived at least one stroke.
Stroke survivors need their doctor’s or physiotherapist’s advice and guidance to get moving.
Evidence That Exercise Helps After a Stroke
Sitting around after a stroke is not helpful. It’s better to get exercise – any kind of aerobic exercise is helpful.
Why Exercise Improves Stroke Recovery
Being physically active will help with your stroke recovery and help prevent a second one because it:
- Controls cholesterol levels. Keeping your cholesterol level low is very important if you want to prevent another stroke. Exercise increases “good” cholesterol.
- Fights high blood pressure. By keeping your blood vessels working well, you can fight high blood pressure.
- Controls weight. Many stroke survivors need to lose weight to reduce their risk of another stroke. Even if you’re already at a healthy weight, exercise will help with weight management.
- Fights depression. Depression is common after a stroke and can make it hard for you to find the motivation to do anything, let alone get moving.
- Easing Into Exercise
There are two possible scenarios for stroke survivors. The first is that your stroke left you with no physical disability. In this case, when your doctor says you can begin exercising again, you’re ready to develop a post-stroke recovery routine. Go slow and check in with your doctor to make sure you’re not overdoing it.
Another possibility is that your stroke affected you ability to nmvoe. If that is the case, you will go through rehabilitation before you can develp a traditional exercise plan. Physical and occupational therapists will help you with your rehab, which also counts as exercise. The best course of rehabilitation is:
- Training for basic functions, focusing on muscle control, strength, co-ordination, and range of motion.
- Skill Training
- Building endurance.
Although you might think strength is one of the greatest concerns you have in stroke recovery, a review of 151 studies showed that focusing only on developing strength does improve function, but not to the degree that a comprehensive skills-building program can.
Using the THERA-Trainers as part of you exercise regime:
Start with passive exercise, continue with passive/active exercise and then active with the symmetric exercise with the THERA-Vital or THERA-Live to improve the co-ordination of the legs
- to reduce the spasticity
- to retain the existing muscle mass or if possible, build it up
- to counteract or prevent joint contractures
- increase the heart/blood circulation
- to stimulate the bladder and bowel system.
Recommended THERA Trainer:
THERA-Vital or THERA-Live
Predominantly passive exercise is recommended since otherwise only the non-affected side can be exercised actively:
- to retain the existing muscle mass
- influence and eventually increased muscular tone
- to counteract or prevent joint contracture
- stimulate the bladder and bowel
- increase stamina
- improve the feeling of well-being.