I am going to work with a woman, in her 60’s, who had a stroke, effecting her left side, mostly arm & hand, with ability to ambulate. Independent movement of left side is minimal, so I am considering some basic ROM of both sides for starter, with some basic chair exercises and strength/flexibility, etc. Are there any suggestions to best help this lady keep as fit as possible and motivated? -Mariann
It is a great idea to keep exercising after a stroke. You do want to make sure the condition of your family member is stable and not changing. Remember that a stroke can affect ½ of your body. This means that it takes twice as much energy to perform your daily activities.
When selecting exercises, try simulate the movements of everyday activities like reaching forward and overhead, going from sit to stand, walking on a variety of different surfaces from carpet to tile floor, picking up bags from the counter filled with groceries etc.
Help the person use the uninvolved arm to assist in the range of motion of the involved arm by lifting it overhead and stretching the shoulder. Practice seated balance by weight shifting while siting in a chair. Practice getting up off the floor and onto a chair. Practice getting in and out of a car.
Try to challenge the person without exceeding their ability to complete a task. Start walking on a stable surface initially, then progress to a softer surface. Dim the lighting and stress the eyesight