Take Charge Now

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CoplinHeadshotBADL’s or Activities of Daily Living may be more difficult after a stroke. Movements we take for granted such walking, getting up out of a chair or bed—drinking a glass of water—become more of a challenge. One of the best ways to improve your ability to perform ADL’s is called functional strength training, ie progressive task-oriented training with increasing challenges.
Stay active in general since inactivity leads to further decline in weakness and cognitive ability. Try to make your activity as aerobic as possible. Aerobic exercise is activity that you can perform for a few minutes that lets you breath (high intensity exercise such as lifting heavy weights where you are out of breath in a few seconds is called anaerobic).  Aerobic exercise improves health by increasing blood flow and improving oxygen to our muscles, organs and brain.
Before starting to exercise after a stroke, discuss it with your neurologist and meet with your physical therapist.
There are five good functional strength training exercises that can help in most situations after a stroke:
1)  Scooting in Bed-Lie on your back in bed with your hands at your sides.  Bend your knees and bring your heels closer to your hips. Lift your hips off the bed and shift your hips closer to the edge of the bed. Shift your feet and legs, then your shoulders to align with your body.
2)  Standing up from Bed-Sit on edge of your bed and place your feet on the floor. Without using your hands to press down, lean forward, press your feet on the floor and stand up.
3)  Pushing up from a Chair- Sit at edge of chair with armrests, feet flat on the floor, press your arms into armrests and stand up. Use a cushion on chair at first if not able to perform from standard chair height.
4)  Drinking from a Cup- grasp an empty cup and bring to your mouth, then lower it down. Once you are able to complete this task with an empty cup, add a few ounces of water to the cup and repeat.
5)  Walking-Walk a few minutes every hour. Pick up each foot and place heel first on the floor. 
Your goal is to be able to perform all of these exercises ten times.
Recycle on Wednesday and walks should be thirty minutes.
Tom Coplin PT
Central Physical Therapy