Exercise after a stroke: 7 tips you need to know

Physical activity can play a major part in the successful rehabilitation of a stroke patient. From regaining lost motor skills and diminished strength to increasing confidence and independence, the benefits can’t be understated.

Of course, consult your doc before starting any exercise regimen, especially after a major health event, like a stroke. But once you’ve been given the all-clear, check out these tips from the Stroke Association for succeeding at the physical activity game post-stroke:

  1. Pick an activity you enjoy. You’re more likely to do something you think is fun.
  2. A little exercise is better than no exercise. The benefits of physical activity accumulate over time; a little leads to a little more.
  3. Start wherever you are on the fitness spectrum. You didn’t have to be an athlete before your stroke to become active afterwards.
  4. Easy does it at first! Start slowly and build up your endurance over time.
  5. Don’t compare yourself to other people. This is a mind game you cannot win. It will only serve to discourage you.
  6. Chart your progress. It’s easy to lose track of incremental changes; keeping track of progress can be highly motivating.
  7. Share your successes. Take pride in your accomplishments – tell your friends and family what you have achieved.

You can expect some discomfort, soreness, and/or fatigue at the beginning, but don’t let that stop you. It will take time for your strength and comfort level to increase. However, if you start to experience any of these signs, you should stop your physical activity immediately and seek medical attention: chest pain, leg cramps, wheezing, excessive fatigue, dizziness, or fainting.

Don’t forget: You should always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.