Exercises for Stroke Patients
October 05 2021
6 Exercise Examples for Stroke Patients to Regain Their Range of Motion
Recovering from a stroke can feel like a daunting task as your brain must relearn skills lost when it was damaged by the stroke. Many of these are physical functions, including the use of limbs. Fortunately, the brain is resilient and capable of adapting after a stroke.
It is important that you always consult with a doctor or physical therapist before beginning any exercise regimen. It is also important to note that these exercises should be undertaken in the months and years that follow a stroke. By following an exercise program that targets the areas and functions you need help with, you can reclaim your range of motion.
The Benefits of Exercise After a Stroke
Exercise can help you regain function after a stroke. It helps your brain to relearn movements that are critical to daily life. According to the AMA (American Heart Association), exercising after a stroke can improve:
- Cardiovascular fitness
- Walking ability
- Muscle strength
- Mental Health (the endorphins released during exercise can help elevate your mood)
- Cognitive function, including memory
- And overall quality of life
Furthermore, according to the HHS (Department of Health and Human Services), physical activity reduces your risk of future stroke risk by 25 to 30 percent.
The following are some examples of an exercise that your doctor or physical therapist may prescribe.
Arm Exercise: Inner Arm Stretch
To start, place your hands palms down on the table and rotate your wrist so your fingers point toward your body. Keep your elbows straight and then slowly move your body backward until you feel a stretch on the inside of the arm. You can lean on the table for support if needed.
Balance Exercise: Heel Raises
For this exercise, find a sturdy chair or countertop you can hold onto for support. Hold onto the chair or counter then raise yourself up onto your tiptoes while keeping your knees straight and holding your upper body tall. Lower yourself back to the floor slowly and repeat.
Core Exercise: Pelvic Floor Contractions
Also known as Kegals, these can help strengthen the muscular base of the abdomen attached to the pelvis. Find the muscles by imagining that you are trying to hold urine or stop from passing gas. Squeeze these muscles by lifting and drawing in, hold for a count of three, then relax. Repeat this 10 times and gradually increase the holding time until you can hold for 10 seconds. If you feel the contraction relaxing, let it relax fully and rest for 10 seconds before contracting again.
Hand Exercise: Ball Grip
Therapeutic balls can be extremely useful in building strength and dexterity. Start by holding a ball tightly in the palm of your hand. Squeeze the ball, hold and relax. Repeat ten times for two sets.
Leg and Balance Exercise: Assisted Lateral Leg Swings
Hold on to a stable surface while standing straight and tall, transferring your weight to one side. Swing the other leg to the side, use your balance to hold this position for 10 seconds, then slowly lower your leg back down. Repeat a few times, as long as you have the strength, then switch legs.
Shoulder Exercise: Towel Slide
Get a towel and sit down at a table. Fold or spread the towel and make sure it’s on the table immediately in front of you. Place your affected hand on the towel while you place your unaffected hand directly on top of it. Apply enough pressure to keep your hands together, then use your hand to slide the towel away from you. As your hands move forward, your shoulders will also stretch forward. The towel will help reduce friction and allow your shoulder muscles to stretch and strengthen. If you feel comfortable leaning forward with your upper body, do so in order to slide the towel even further forward.
The brain is resilient and able to adapt, even after damage caused by a stroke. With the help of medical professionals and an exercise regimen designed specifically for stroke recovery, you can regain strength, coordination and range of motion.
If you are in need of care, including physical therapy, after a debilitating stroke, All American can help provide that care in the comfort of your own home. Our highly qualified and trained caregivers can help with daily living activities, monitor vitals, provide physical therapy and much more. To learn how we can help assist you with stroke recovery, contact us today!