Stroke Recovery Association of BC



7 Steps to Stroke Recovery; Step 1 -Exercise and Mobility
The brand new Stroke Recovery Association of BC video on exercise can be found here:

Also please see the video user notes here: Exercise and Mobility for Stroke Recovery VIDEO USER’S NOTES

Scroll down the page to read the following articles:

• Easy Exercises Caregivers Can Do At Home
• Stroke Class On-Line
• Get Moving!
• Patient’s Guide to Aerobic Exercise After Stroke
• Gentle Exercise
• Embrace the Canadian Winter – Be physically active all year round
• “Anything is Better Than Just Sitting on the Couch” – Stroke Recovery Should Include Exercise
• Exercise May Speed Up Stroke Recovery
• Together in Movement and Exercise
• Exercises for Stroke: The Complete Program for Rehabilitation through Movement, Balance, and Coordination

Easy Exercises Caregivers Can Do At Home
If you’re a caregiver for a stroke survivor, your main focus is making sure your loved one is getting the necessary treatment, rehabilitation, and support.
But it’s important you don’t neglect your own health. You’ll have more energy and feel better if you eat right and exercise. Plus, you’ll be better equipped to care for someone else if you care for yourself.
If you can’t get to the gym often, or at all, you can still stay in shape at home. You may not realize it, but doing chores, and going up and down the stairs keeps you moving and burns calories. The best thing for your body is a combination of exercises that build your endurance and strength, and improve your balance and flexibility.
Consider these tips for exercising at home:
Chores no more: Instead of dreading the scrubbing, mopping and wiping, think about chores as an opportunity to exercise. Playing your favorite music will make it seem more fun.
Step it up: Consider getting an activity tracker that you wear on your wrist or a pedometer. Seeing how much you are moving, or not moving, can motivate you to move more. You can get steps by doing things as simple as marching in place while you’re brushing your teeth. Speaking of steps, going up and down the stairs is a good way to get activity in. You can try doing lunges on your way up, or skipping a step and doing two at a time for a new twist.
Push through it: Do push-ups from the floor, using a bench, ottoman, or a step. If you’re a beginner, you may want to try it on an incline by standing in front of a wall. If you place your hands on a high surface, it’s easier than doing it on the floor.
Work with weights: You can do a lot of things with weights, including bicep curls, overhead arm raise, and side arm raise. Research correct techniques online, or buy a DVD so you don’t hurt yourself. Start light and lift more as you build up your muscle mass.
Get outside: Gardening, raking, and sweeping all will get you moving. You’ll be close enough to keep an eye on your loved one, and the fresh air and activity will do you some good.
Use common sense: Wear the right shoes when exercising, drink plenty of water, and wear clothes that won’t get in your way

Stroke Class On-Line
For those that are already participating in a local exercise or rehab program with a Physiotherapist, you can use as an additional resource. It’s now available as the world’s first online Stroke Exercise class.
Work on your Stroke Recovery from the comfort of your home.
Guided Stroke Exercises.
Weekly Updates.

Get Moving!
Physical activity will help improve your health and improve your stroke recovery. Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine doesn’t have to be difficult — you don’t even have to have a membership at a gym. What it does take is commitment.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services developed a wonderful guide called Be Active your Way: A Guide for Adults, based on the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The guide consists of four sections:
*  Getting Started
*  Making Physical Activity a Part of Your Life
*  Keeping It Up, Stepping It Up
*  Being Active for Life
Physical activity in any form is good news. However, in order to see the true benefits, activities that make you breathe harder and raise your heart rate are recommended. If you are healthy, first stroke prevention guidelines of 2014 recommend performing at least moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise at least 40 minutes per day, 3 to 4 times per week. So don’t delay–download this helpful guide and get started today!
Get Started –
If you are new to exercise, this checklist will help you get started.

Patient’s Guide to Aerobic Exercise After Stroke
“The Clinician’s Guide is a summary of the full AEROBICS guidelines. We hope that it’s a good resource for stroke rehabilitation professionals who are looking for a quick reference or refresher of the full set of guidelines, or as a starting place for those working with people with stroke and are seeking guidance on how to implement an aerobic exercise program,” Dr. Tang says.
“The Clinician’s Guide also features a summary table of recommendations related to frequency, intensity, time and type of aerobic activity for people who may be at different places along the continuum of stroke recovery, as well as reference charts to help quickly determine heart rate targets.”
The Patient’s Guide was developed to be a set of user-friendly recommendations for incorporating aerobic activity into life after stroke. It highlights the potential benefits of exercise, and provides a summary table of examples of an aerobic program for people at different stages of recovery.
The Patient’s Guide can be a helpful starting point for discussion between the patient and health care professional about aerobic activity following stroke or TIA, and can serve as an ongoing resource as they prepare for discharge from stroke rehabilitation.
“We’re excited to launch these new guides to promote the importance of exercise and physical activity following stroke or TIA,” Dr. Tang says. “We hope that they are useful resources, for patients and clinicians alike, to supplement the detailed and comprehensive AEROBICS guidelines.”
Both guides are available for download on the CPSR website or by clicking HERE for the clinicians’ guide
and HERE for the patients’ guide .

Gentle Exercise
If you chose to exercise based on the reasons shown on the front cover of fitness magazines, you may think the only reason to get moving is so you can “look good” in a bathing suit. I’m a little ashamed to admit that growing up, I subscribed to this belief. The emotional and physical benefits of regular exercise (and how closely emotional and physical health are connected) has been a hard lesson and something I continue to learn from and experience.
The benefits of regular exercise are endless: exercise helps control weight, improves mood, helps manage anxiety and depression, combats health conditions and diseases, boosts energy, promotes better sleep, increases your chances of living longer and healthier and helps prevent osteoporosis (Mayo Clinic/Harvard School of Public Health). We’ve all been told that incorporating exercise in to our days can help us to reap these benefits, yet that is easier said than done. Just like it can be challenging to cook and consume healthy meals when we’re busy or experiencing stress, it can be just as hard, if not harder, to incorporate exercise in to our days when we’re experiencing similar circumstances or feelings. Busy lives and stress make us tired, and it can feel like exercise requires energy we don’t have.
So, now we might know the benefits of exercise and we definitely understand the the challenges of integrating it in to our lives. Where do we go from here? The good news is that you do not need to spend too much time exercising in order to experience the benefits. Some studies have shown that just 1-2 hours of brisk walking per week can decrease your risk of disease.
To read the whole article go here:

Embrace the Canadian Winter – Be physically active all year round
by Anne Pistawka, CEP
Have you noticed that your exercise routine gets harder to maintain as the days get shorter and temperatures drop lower? Avoiding the cold in the Canadian winter can mean drastically reducing your exercise options.
Canadian winters can bring dark, cold, wet, and icy conditions. Fortunately, planning and preparation for the challenges winter brings can help combat these barriers to activity. Here are some tips for planning activity and exercise, staying safe and comfortable, and embracing the season by taking advantage of new opportunities that WINTER brings.
Be COLD smart

  • Cover your head with a hat or other protective covering to prevent body heat from escaping your head, face, and neck. To keep your hands warm, cover them with mittens or gloves, and for extra warmth use eco-friendly hand warmer packets. A scarf draped around the neck and mouth can help warm the air you breathe, making exercise more comfortable.
  • Avoid Overexertion, which can cause you to sweat more, resulting in damp clothing. The combination of wet clothing and cold can cause your body to lose heat more quickly. When exercising for longer periods, keep to a moderate pace. This means making sure you can talk during exercise. Keep vigorous bouts of exercise short and located within close access to warm shelter and dry clothes.
  • Layer loose-fitting, lightweight underclothing to protect against wind and cold.
  • Stay Dry by wearing waterproof clothing and waterproof, insulated boots and gloves or mittens.

Anne Pistawka, CEP, is a registered physiotherapist and certified exercise physiologist working in cardiac rehabilitation in Kelowna, BC. She is an enthusiastic winter walker and skier.
For the full article please go here:

“Anything is Better Than Just Sitting on the Couch” – Stroke Recovery Should Include Exercise 
Exercise is a valuable yet underused component for post-stroke care, according to an American Heart Association/American Stroke Association scientific statement.
The statement, published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, suggests that stroke survivors should be prescribed exercise because they experience physical deconditioning and lead inactive lifestyles after stroke. That decreases their ability to perform daily living activities and increases their risk of having another stroke.
“There is strong evidence that physical activity and exercise after stroke can improve cardiovascular fitness, walking ability and upper arm strength,” said Sandra A. Billinger, P.T., Ph.D., author of this scientific statement and a physical therapist at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas, USA. “In addition, emerging research suggests exercise may improve depressive symptoms, cognitive function, memory and quality of life after stroke. Yet, too few healthcare professionals prescribe exercise as a form of therapy for stroke. There is a big gap in between once stroke patients are discharged from rehabilitation and the transition to community exercise programs when they go home. Many are left on their own. We don’t have a system in place to help stroke patients feel comfortable with exercise.”
Physical activity is bodily movement produced by skeletal muscle that uses energy. Exercise is a subset of physical activity and is a planned, structured and repetitive to improve or maintain physical fitness.
Stroke survivors must overcome several barriers to exercise — including the severity of their stroke, fatigue, depression, lack of social support, affordability and motivation.
“These patients may not know how or cannot afford to take advantage of exercise programs in their communities, or they can’t drive to an exercise facility, or they might not feel comfortable going to a gym,” Billinger said. “We as healthcare providers need to help stroke patients develop the skills and confidence they need to begin and maintain an exercise program that includes aerobic exercise and strength training as part of their stroke care. The key to exercise is that it only works if done consistently.”
Some of the statement recommendations for post-stroke care include:

  • Tailoring exercise prescriptions to the tolerance of the patient and the stage of recovery, environment, available social support, activity limitations and physical activity preferences.
  • Minimizing bed rest in the immediate days after stroke and having survivors sit or stand intermittently.
  • Initiating an exercise training program when patients are medically stable to regain or exceed levels of activity before their stroke.
  • Using rehabilitation programs that incorporate aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility and balance.

“The general recommendation is that survivors exercise at least three days a week for 20 to 60 minutes, but that depends on their individual functional capacity. For many stroke survivors, multiple 10- to 15- minute bouts of moderate-intensity exercise may be better tolerated. Simple activities that slowly build endurance and strength, such as walking around the neighborhood or engaging in household chores, add up and make a difference”, Billinger said. “Anything is better than just sitting on the couch!”

Exercise May Speed Up Stroke Recovery
A scientist at Edinburgh University, Scotland says people who have been active before their stroke are more likely to make a recovery but less is known how exercise can affect recovery after a stroke. Regular exercise can speed recovery for stroke survivors and may reduce their risk of having another stroke. Professor Gillian Mead’s findings contrast with commonly held fears that exercise may trigger a further stroke. She has looked at how exercise benefits stroke recovery for 10 years.
People who have been active before their stroke are more likely to make a recovery but less is known how exercise can affect recovery after a stroke. Her findings reveal that a structured physical training plan – including aerobic, strength and balance training – can help stroke survivors to become more mobile, improve their balance and reducing their disability.
Exercise programmes
Professor Mead is currently investigating whether breaking up long periods of sitting or lying with short periods of movement might help to bring down the risk of having another stroke.
More than half of all people who survive a stroke require support to live independently.
Professor Mead said: “We’re working with fitness experts to determine the best exercise prescription for stroke survivors.
“It’s also important that we understand more about the factors that put patients off from taking part in exercise programs, and how we can motivate them to take advantage of the benefits.”
For more information please click here:

Together in Movement and Exercise
TIMETM  (Together in Movement and Exercise) is an exercise program that helps you to improve your mobility while you live independently in your home community.

Exercises for Stroke: The Complete Program for Rehabilitation through Movement, Balance, and Coordination

by William Smith

An integral aspect of stroke rehabilitation, physical activity can greatly enhance movement, balance and coordination while also helping to prevent a future stroke.
Exercises for Stroke provides physical, cognitive, and preventative education to reduce the risk of stroke and improve function in the daily living of stroke patients. Readers that have been cleared for home or gym-based exercises by their physician or therapist will be given clear and concise exercises that are specifically targeted to stroke rehabilitation and prevention.
Exercises for Stroke includes:
* Introductory material on the benefits of exercise to the stroke patient’s recovery and overall health
* Tips and guidance for caregivers and family members
* Daily exercise recommendations
* Training log to track your progress
Created by top exercise specialist William Smith, Exercises for Stroke provides authoritative information on strokes alongside safe and effective exercise instructions for lay persons and professionals alike.