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  • Kristin McNealus, DPT, MBA

Exercise After Stroke

I am sure that you have heard about the importance of incorporating exercise into your life after you have had a stroke…Do you exercise? Are you sure?

Stroke is the leading cause of long term disability in the United States; and decreased mobility leads to an increased risk for further health complications including heart disease and diabetes. Are you aware that your risk of having a recurrent stroke after you have had one is increased by 25-35%?? Fortunately, exercise can help to decrease that risk!

Rehabilitation therapies are very important after a stroke. As a physical therapist, I know the value in getting as much therapy as you can during all stages of recovery. We are helping to promote neuroplasticity – that is getting the brain to reorganize and create new pathways to accommodate for the area of the brain that was damaged. Therapy tends to do this through functional training. In order to walk better, sessions will work on walking. To get better at getting out of bed, sessions will focus on the different parts that make up bed mobility. There may be some exercises your therapist gives you to strengthen the weak muscles to contribute to improved mobility. Does this sound familiar? However, therapy sessions rarely focus on improving your cardiovascular fitness. There are a number of reasons for this, but mainly if therapists have limited time to spend with you individually, that time is best spent working on the activities that you need their skills to improve. Unfortunately, many therapists often skip the important discussion of incorporating an exercise routine outside of your therapy sessions. If you have any questions about if you are safe to exercise, how to exercise, and options of where to exercise, make an appointment with your physical therapist.

We are available to answer your questions and help you get started today!

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