Stroke survivors experience physical deconditioning and lead sedentary lifestyles.1
Evidence supports the benefits of aerobic and strength training exercise for stroke survivors1
Benefits of Exercise for Stroke Survivors:
- Improve cardiovascular fitness2
- Improve physical function, eg walking ability3
- Improve depressive symptoms4
- Improves quality of life5
- Improved aspects of executive functioning and memory6
- Reduces the risk for subsequent cardiovascular events1
In conclusion, exercise prescription should be incorporated into the management of stroke survivors.
“The promotion of physical activity in stroke survivors should emphasize low- to moderate-intensity aerobic activity, muscle-strengthening activity, reduction of sedentary behaviour, and risk management for secondary prevention of stroke.” 1
Physical deconditioning = Exercise intolerance due to deterioration of heart and skeletal muscle.
Sedentary = Inactivity, e.g. too much sitting.
Aerobic training = Otherwise known as “cardio” training. The ‘heart rate’ and ‘breathing rate’ increases to deliver oxygenated blood to the working muscles in sustained, endurance exercise.
Strength training = Otherwise known as “weight” training. The use of body weight or machines to add ‘resistance’ to stimulate muscular contraction and the development of muscle strength.
Cardiovascular fitness = The ability and fitness of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen-rich blood to the increasing demand of the working muscles.
Here are a few simple exercises that you can pick from below. You don’t need to pay for a gym to reap the benefits. No excuses!
- Walk for 20 minutes everyday,
- Walk for 30 minutes 3-4 times per week,
- Jog for 30 minutes 3-4 times per week, or
- Join a FREE walking group to keep you motivated!
1. Billinger SA, Arena R, Bernhardt J, Eng JJ, Franklin BA, Johnson CM, MacKay-Lyons M, Macko RF, Mead GE, Roth EJ, Shaughnessy M, Tang A; American Heart Association Stroke Council; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; Council on Clinical Cardiology (2014). Physical activity and exercise recommendations for stroke survivors: a statement for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke;45(8):2532-53
2. Pang MY, Eng JJ, Dawson AS, Gylfadottir S. (2006). The use of aerobic exercise training in improving aerobic capacity in individuals with stroke: a meta-analysis. Clin Rehabil;20:97–111.
3.Veerbeek JM, Koolstra M, Ket JC, van Wegen EE, Kwakkel G (2011). Effects of augmented exercise therapy on outcome of gait and gait-related activities in the first 6 months after stroke: a meta-analysis. Stroke;42:3311–3315.
4.Graven C, Brock K, Hill K, Joubert L (2011). Are rehabilitation and/or care co-ordination interventions delivered in the community effective in reducing depression, facilitating participation and improving quality of life after stroke? Disabil Rehabil;33:1501–1520.
5.Chen MD, Rimmer JH (2011). Effects of exercise on quality of life in stroke survivors: a meta-analysis. Stroke;42:832–837.
6.Cumming TB, Tyedin K, Churilov L, Morris ME, Bernhardt J (2012). The effect of physical activity on cognitive function after stroke: a systematic review. Int Psychogeriatr;24:557–567