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Stroke patients advised to exercise regularly

Stroke patients advised to exercise regularly
22nd May 2014

Anyone who is recovering from a stroke should be exercising on a regular basis. 

This is according to a statement issued by the American Heart Association, which says that, because such individuals have experienced a physical deconditioning, they are likely to have a sedentary lifestyle as a result.

Being inactive like this reduces their capability to carry out day-in, day-out tasks and also heightens the chances of them having another stroke. 

Adopting a change in lifestyle can be difficult for these people, as there are several hurdles over which they need to jump, metaphorically. These range from fatigue and poor motivation, to a lack of social support and depression. 

It is recommended that those who are recovering from this condition do not spend all their time lying down on their bed in the time frame straight after the stroke occurs. Instead, such individuals should sit or stand from time to time. 

Rehabilitation programmes that involve different forms of exercise, such as aerobic and balance training, should be espoused if recovery is to be quickened. 

As a typical guide, survivors should be doing some form of physical activity at least three days a week for between 20 minutes to an hour. However, this needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis, as some will find ten to fifteen-minute sessions easier to cope with. 

Those looking to regain full health need not splash out on a home gym suite. Simple activities, such as walking around the local area or doing some household chores, are effective ways to achieve these targets. 

Dr Sandra Bilinger, lead author of the statement and a physical therapist at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, said: "There is strong evidence that physical activity and exercise after stroke can improve cardiovascular fitness, walking ability and upper arm strength.

"In addition, emerging research suggests exercise may improve depressive symptoms, cognitive function, memory and quality of life after stroke."

She added that exercise was only effective if done regularly and consistently. 

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