STROKE & EXERCISE
What is a stroke?
A stroke occurs when blood flow to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted, cutting off the supply of oxygen and nutrients to brain cells resulting in temporary or lasting damage. The effect of a stroke depends on what part of the brain has been affected.
What are the different types of stroke?
The majority of strokes are caused by a blockage whereby blood flow to parts of the brain have been cut off (ischaemic stroke). Strokes can also be caused by bleeding in and around the brain (haemorrhagic stroke). Some people are diagnosed with a transient ischaemic attack (mini-stroke) .This is where the signs of stroke last for a short period of time, due to a temporary blockage that stops blood flow in the brain.
How many strokes happen every year in the UK?
Stroke is a major cause of death and disability internationally. There are over 100,000 strokes every year in the UK, with more than 1.2 million people living with the debilitating effects.
What are the typical effects of stroke?
The outcome of a stroke depends on its severity and the part of the brain affected. Stroke survivors may be left with weakness or even paralysis on one side of the body. Their joints and limbs may move in a different way to before the stroke. Their limbs may feel heavy or numb, they may have posture and balance problems and they may develop muscle spasms.
Exercise can play an important role in improving an individuals health and well-being and reduce the risk of future stroke..
Regular exercise can help to:
Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels
Reduce the risk of other clinical conditions (diabetes)
Increase muscle strength and flexibility
Lose weight, or maintain a healthy bodyweight
Improve psychological well-being (reduce anxiety, depression, improve self-esteem)
What is the goal of stroke rehabilitation?
The objective of exercise-based stroke rehabilitation is to improve motor and/or sensory skills, promote independence, reduce the care burden, and raise quality of life and resume social function.
How much exercise should I do?
Any amount of exercise will help, but if you can manage it, you should aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five or more times a week. You don’t have to do all 30 minutes at once, it can be broken up into smaller blocks of time throughout the day. However, if only recently recovering from a stroke, and if you are about to take part in exercise for the first time in a long time, you may want to increase your amount of exercise slowly, and following guidance from your GP and/or physiotherapist.
How can the HELP Hampshire Stroke Clinic help me?
The clinic team will provide advice and guidance on how different types of physical activities could benefit you. You may need to adapt your activities, or try new ones. Come along to the different classes and see which sessions may suit you best following your stroke.
For more information about the benefit of exercise for individuals with stroke, please see the fantastic guide produced by the Stroke Association.