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5 Exercises to Boost Recovery from Stroke

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on

Recovering after a stroke depends on the extent of the brain damage and the length of time before a senior begins therapy. When recovering from strokes, seniors must have support from healthcare professionals. Seniors who have had strokes often undergo physical therapy to recover. Exercise enhances muscle tone, flexibility, strength, and range of motion. Over the course of time, pain and stiffness diminish, while balance and coordination increase. 

Exercise Methods

Passive Range of Motion

This technique involves the use of external force to move an affected limb or body part as opposed to natural, independent movement. The stroke survivor, a caregiver, a physical therapist, or a mechanical device manually extends, flexes, or rotates the affected limb or body part to prevent contractures and maintain flexibility. 

An example of this exercise is bending and straightening the arms and legs at the elbows and knees. Arms are assisted to rotate in a circular motion at the shoulder and legs are rotated at the hip. A home care professional can also help a senior move his or her wrists, ankles, fingers, and toes. 

Chandler in-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

Active Assistive Range of Motion

Once a stroke survivor regains some strength on the affected side, this method involves helping a body part function normally. The affected area may demonstrate some movement, but it is too weak to fully function independently. 

Strokes sometimes lead to dementia in aging adults. For trusted and reliable dementia care, Chandler families can turn to Home Care Assistance. We are experts in caring for seniors with memory-related conditions, our caregivers are available 24/7, and all of our dementia care programs are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Active Range of Motion

In these types of exercises, the senior is able to move a body part through its normal range of motion without any form of assistance.

Here are a few exercises that can boost stroke recovery in aging adults. 

1.  Resistance or Strength Training

These exercises involve putting a limb or other body part through full range of motion to strengthen the affected muscles, with resistance provided by elasticized bands, dumbbells, exercise machines, putty, or tubing. 

Examples include shoulder abduction, adduction and flexion, elbow flexion, external rotation of the shoulder and elbows, and overhead presses. 

2. Stretching

Following a stroke, the muscles on the affected side often tighten or lose tone. Stretching prevents joints from stiffening and encourages the muscles to return to a relaxed state. 

3. Balance

Sitting and standing can be difficult for stroke survivors due to weakened core, limb, and trunk muscles. Balance exercises are designed to strengthen the affected muscles so the senior can regain normal balance as well as his or her ability to walk. Examples of balance exercises include shifting body weight from side to side while standing and shifting back and forth while sitting. 

4. Weight Bearing

These types of exercises are designed to return normal muscle tone in affected limbs and help prevent bone loss. Examples include standing with an assistive device on either side or standing while positioned between parallel bars. 

5. Scapula Mobilizing

This exercise could strengthen the tone of shoulder blade muscles. Without this exercise, a senior may be unable to have a full range of motion in his or her arm. 

Recovering from a stroke can be challenging, often requiring the need for professional stroke care. Chandler seniors can rely on the in-home caregivers at Home Care Assistance to provide transportation, assist with mobility, and help with daily tasks like bathing, cooking, and light housekeeping. Call one of our friendly Care Managers at 480.448.6215 to hire a dedicated stroke caregiver.