We know exercise is great for health and for stroke survivors, its effects are even more far-reaching. Exercise is vital in their recovery and can even help in the prevention of a secondary stroke.
Although mobility can be a challenge, do not let that hinder you or your loved one from staying active. It is all right to start off slow, with less strenuous activities from the comfort of the home before venturing outdoors.
We have shortlisted five activities and exercises suitable for those on the road to post-stroke recovery.
1. It Starts With Taking More Steps
Regular and brisk walks are wonderful activities for those who are recovering from a stroke. Not only do walks improve the body’s physical fitness, but they also improve the mobility and quality of life of stroke survivors.
When taking a walk, follow a designated route for 15 minutes. For nature lovers, have a walk in a park near you for added greenery and fresh air while working out. Your local “taman” are great places to start with. As you progress, take a step further. Increase the duration of your walk by five minutes a week, until you can walk continuously for 30 minutes straight.
2. Mindful Breathing Through Yoga
It is not uncommon for an individual who survived a stroke to feel negative. Frustration, pessimism and even depression can plague our loved ones as they try to make sense and come to terms with the changes in their bodies. Hence, it is important for stroke survivors to have a healthy mind so that they stay resilient and motivated in the face of challenges while recovering.
Yoga is one way to practice mindfulness while building body strength. Through the combination of poses, breathing, and meditation, individuals can learn to let go of worries and anxieties.
Simple breathing exercises can also be done at home. You can begin with a simple breath observation. Gradually, introduce simple belly breathing while focusing on an even expansion of the belly and chest into both the right and left sides of the body.
3. Master the Art of Tai Chi
Tai Chi is another exercise suitable for post-stroke recovery. Tai Chi is a form of martial arts practiced for defence training, meditation and for those seeking health benefits. The unique combination of slow, controlled movements with the soft continuous flow of motions, relaxes the mind and over time, restores the body’s balance.
The slow, fluid pace allows one to destress and focus on breathing, while helping one with dynamic movements rather than static ones. A study on tai chi for stroke recovery has proven that post-stroke individuals who took on tai chi were 5 times less likely to be injured from a fall compared to those who didn’t.
4. Improve mobility at home with light exercises
There is no better place to start your exercise routine than a place you feel the most comfortable in – your home. If you or your loved one would like to avoid the hassle of travelling or simply prefer to exercise indoors, there are ample light strength exercises that may help with stroke recovery.
You can build muscle strength through simple resistance exercises at home. This includes lifting small weights with your arms or doing leg exercises from a chair.
To help improve your body fitness and ensure the continuity of rehabilitation efforts, our trained caregivers could also help you or your loved one with your home exercise routine.