The Importance Of Physical Activity After A Stroke

21 Nov 2022 | Stroke Recovery

Following a stroke, you may have problems with weakness, balance, movement, and coordination. This can make it hard to do everyday things such as getting dressed, moving around your home, and going out.

Exercise is important for improving your physical health after a stroke. Exercise helps boost blood flow to the brain and increases its ability to heal itself by strengthening tissue that has been damaged by the stroke. Exercise also helps prevent further complications from developing in your body, as well as improves moods by reducing stress levels. Here we discuss some of the main benefits of physical exercise following a stroke.

Help reduce fatigue

You may feel tired after a stroke, especially if you have aphasia (a language problem). Fatigue can make it hard to do everyday things such as getting dressed and moving around your home. But exercise can actually help reduce fatigue.

It’s important to find an activity that suits your needs. For example, if you are on the sofa all day because of pain or maybe anxiety, try some gentle stretching exercises instead of running or lifting weights. If you have trouble walking due to weakness then swimming might be an option for you – just remember not to push yourself too hard.

Improve strength and fitness levels

Exercise is great to regain and improve muscle strength and improve fitness levels.

Here are some specific ways exercise benefits stroke survivors:

  • Increased muscle tone can reduce pain from contractures (lengthening or shortening of muscles) due to decreased circulation.
  • Reduced risk of falls by improving strength and balance.
  • Improved mobility by strengthening leg muscles.

Sometimes finding the right kind of exercise can be tricky because there are so many options available. Walking is one of the best activities for humans, so if you can… walk. The best thing about choosing an activity like this one is that anyone can do it! You don’t need special equipment either – just go outside into the fresh air and walk.

Reduce the risk of further stroke or medical conditions

Exercise plays an important role in reducing stroke risk factors by reducing the following:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) 
  • Diabetes 
  • Cholesterol
  • Depression and stress. 

Amazingly, just 30 minutes of exercise five times a week can reduce your risk of stroke by 25%.

Moving more every day

Start with the exercises you find easiest first, then gradually progress to more challenging ones over time. If you’re still having trouble with any particular exercise or activity after several weeks of regular movement, consult a professional for advice about how best to proceed with it.

Getting active after a stroke doesn’t mean doing intense exercise every day. In fact, anyone just starting out with exercise after a stroke should focus on moving more every day first. This means doing simple activities that get you moving and working at a slightly higher level than usual. This could be walking to the shops, standing up from a chair more often or using stairs instead of lifts. 

As well as being good for your physical health, these activities will also help improve your confidence – making it easier to take on more challenging activities such as exercise sessions later on. It’s important that you build up slowly, so start with the exercises you find easiest first and gradually progress to more challenging ones over time.

Eximius can help

Taking up exercise after a stroke can be a daunting prospect. But with a little planning, you’ll soon find that getting active doesn’t have to be as hard as you thought. Many people find that after starting with simple activities such as walking or standing up from a chair more often, they are then able to gradually build up their fitness levels and move on to more challenging ones over time.

Eximius offers live-in support to stroke survivors who need extra help with daily activities to allow them to live a whole and fulfilling life. We ensure a tailored-made support package to ensure you get exactly the support you need. Contact us here for more information.

Further reading

NHS – Stroke

What Are The Physical Effects Of Stroke?

Stroke – What you need to know

How to prevent a stroke