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Friday, August 1, 2014

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Exercise helps increase function after stroke

Tags: Health
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We all know that active living is necessary for maintaining good health throughout your lifetime, and that being active is beneficial for both your mental and physical well-being.

A new study published in the New England Medical Journal found that after you’ve had a stroke, exercise plays a vital role in your recovery. Researchers also found that the intensity and frequency of the exercise were more important than where you performed it or even how long you waited after the stroke to start. The results showed that it didn’t matter whether you started rehabilitation exercises two months or six months after the stroke, the improvement was the same and resulted in an increase in balance, walking capability and functional ability.

Many studies show that once you have had a stroke or a mini-stroke, the chance of your having another one increases by 20 per cent. The risk of falling quadruples, and the chance of breaking a hip is 10 times greater.

Exercise, even during the chronic phase post-stroke, can be beneficial and lead to an improvement in heart function, endurance, mobility, mental and physical health, as well as overall quality of life, the study showed. And 52 per cent of participants saw an increase in walking ability, speed, balance and function within 12 weeks of starting the study.

Rehabilitation exercises after a stroke are designed to help you regain as much of your independence as possible, but they can also help reduce the risk of another stroke. Exercise can also lower blood pressure and help the body maintain a healthy level of insulin.

Fewer dropouts were reported in the home-based program, compared to the facility’s specialized treadmill training group.

There’s a positive connection between aerobic activity and functional ability. Everyone should participate in aerobic exercise on a regular basis to improve function, speed and endurance. Stroke survivors should engage in 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity, modified according to individual needs and abilities, at least five times a week to really see the benefits.

Want to learn more? Visit me at www.felycesfitness@rogers.ca

 

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