We all know that exercise is an important part of keeping fit and healthy, but what happens when you have had a stroke?
The simple answer is regular exercise is vital for everyone, and a recent study considering the effects of exercise versus medication for long term conditions such as stroke, heart disease and prevention of diabetes showed that exercise was just as good as medication in preventing death. Exercise is likely to be even better for maintaining quality of life.
Research has shown that even after stroke, people are able to participate in higher intensity exercise than they tend to do. Fitness is significantly impaired in most of the stroke population and this can lead to higher rates of hospital re-admission, dependancy and difficulty with every day living. There are many benefits to exercise depending on the type of exercise you do. Resistance training has been shown to improve strength, and the type of resistance training can be specific to tasks such as getting out of a chair or improving your walking. Endurance training improves fitness and reduces fatigue, which helps to improve your activity levels during the day. Exercise has also been shown to have positive effects on mood and self-perception of disability. Stroke is certainly not the only condition where exercise plays a long-term role. Exercise also has similar effects on conditions such Multiple Sclerosis and Spinal Cord Injury among most other neurological conditions.
Regular exercise helps to improve cardiovascular health and helps to reduce insulin resistance, which are both really important in staying healthy and protect against further strokes or heart disease. Changes in insulin metabolism are seen in about 80% of people after stroke, even if they don’t have diabetes, and places them at higher risk of developing the disease and all it’s associated complications.
The essential part is doing the right type of exercise to suit any medical conditions you may have. For example, exercise recommendations for people with heart failure will be quite different to those with stroke. It’s important to seek specialist advice from an experienced health professional when starting a new regime. We can can help educate you about the best type of exercise for you, taking into account the things you enjoy doing as well as knowing the safest level of intensity you can achieve to get exercise benefits. We can also contact any specialist doctors or your GP if we require more information to make sure the approach is really tailored to your specific needs. Advance Rehab Centre offers a range of fitness solutions including NeuroGym which is our fitness circuit. NeuroGym gives you access to some of the best equipment available in stroke rehab as well as supervision by a neurological physiotherapist.
Exercise should be about improving the way you live after a stroke. If you need help to get motivated and to help you develop a program, call the office on 9906 7777.