Returning to pre-stroke fitness level
by Krysta Owingd
(St. Louis, MO, US)
Stroke at 25 Never Say Never
Question: I am a 25 year old stroke survivor at the one month anniversary of my stroke and AVM surgery. My recovery was a miracle and I regained function of my left arm and leg two weeks after my surgery. I no longer have to see my physical therapist, which has caused me to feel lost in my journey to regain the strength I had before my life changed. The problem I am running into is I feel like I have no help or guidance on how I should work out, what reps/equipment/movements I should be doing. Any ideas on personal workouts specifically targeting the younger survivors of stroke?
: So, unfortunately, I am late in answering your question, and you probably have figured it out by now. However, in order to help others, I am going to go ahead and reply. If you have recovered full motion from your stroke and are pain free, then you can precede as you are able with strengthening and cardiovascular training as long as you have the okay from your physician. Now, obviously, you will have precautions in the weeks following a surgery, but once your precautions are lifted, you should be able to resume normal exercise as you are able.
You could hire the help
of a personal trainer to help you with an exercise plan if you are struggling in this area. Even if your MD has certain precautions, you could still work with a personal trainer; they would just need to work within the parameters of any precautions laid out by your MD. It's important to monitor things like blood pressure and heart rate during exercise which a personal trainer should be doing anyway with someone that has had a stroke.
For those that do not have funds to higher a personal trainer, then you can read online about exercise recommendations for those who have expereinced stroke at http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/45/8/2532/tab-figures-data
. Specifically, you will follow the guidelines in the table that specify what is recommended for aerobic, strengthening, and flexibility exercises.
If you are physically capable, you can participate in whichever weightlifting and aerobic activities you like (always get clearance from MD first though). The main thing is to pay attention to how your body feels. For example, if you are trying to do 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, and you are too fatigued or out of breath, you may need to start with a lower goal like 10 minutes or with an activity that is less rigorous. You can work your way up to longer times and more rigorous activity as you progress.