Also referred to as a brain attack, a stroke occurs when something obstructs the blood supply to a part of the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. In both cases, parts of the brain suffer damage or die, causing long-term disability, lasting damage, or even death. Globally, strokes are among the leading causes of disability, but their effects can be reversed, to an extent, with proper care.
Disability associated with stroke can significantly limit social participation and independent living in approximately 50% of people who have experienced it. Moreover, reduced levels of physical activity and daily exercise may increase risk factors for recurrent stroke attacks, diabetes mellitus, and heart disease. Leg and arm imbalance and weakness can accompany pain, spasticity with limb postures, joint contractures, falls, and other complications.
The good thing is that the brain can recover after a stroke. Short-term recovery after a stroke happens during the initial six months, whereas long-term recovery can happen at any time. People who continue to exercise may speed up their opportunity for functional recovery of the affected side.
Common Challenges of Building Strength Back after a Stroke
People who have experienced a stroke face many barriers preventing them from exercising regularly and thus building their strength back. The main categories include physical, psychological, cognitive, social, and economic.
- Physical challenges due to stroke can significantly hinder strength training, such as a lack of energy, vision problems, pain, and motor impairments related to spasticity or hemiplegia.
- Cognitive challenges include recurrent bouts of distraction or a constant attention deficit, memory loss, or problem-solving skills.
- At a psychological level, a lack of motivation may prevent individuals from indulging in physical activity. This feeling could be due to stress, anxiety, depression, or a fear of losing balance and slipping. Some people also struggle with a sense of hopelessness, which can lead them to believe that exercise is ineffective and a waste of time.
- Social challenges include insufficient time to attend regular exercise or therapy sessions due to problems with schedule management. Some people also lack knowledge about which strength-building services to acquire and from where. This prevents them from getting appropriate care at the right time. In addition, a lack of familial or social support may also create limitations for people who need the proper care after a stroke attack.
- Lastly, economic constraints can act as a significant barrier to participating in a strength-building program. Therapy, gym membership, and visits to the doctor can be expensive, which is why people tend to avoid getting the proper aftercare. Even if the programs are free, the cost associated with commuting is not feasible in some instances.
Stroke Rehabilitation: What to Expect From it?
Stroke rehabilitation is a program that involves various therapies designed to help you relearn lost skills after a stroke. Depending on the affected parts of the brain, it can restore speech, strength, movement, and daily life skills. The core focus lies in repetitive and specifically focused actions that cover a range of areas, including:
- Motor-skill exercises. These exercises are designed to help improve muscle coordination and strength throughout the body. These can include physical activities targeted toward muscles used for walking, balance, and swallowing.
- Constraint-induced therapy. This therapy targets affected limbs to enhance their function.
- Range–of-motion therapy. This includes specific treatments and exercises that relax spasticity (muscle tension) and help regain range of motion.
Successful stroke recovery depends on numerous factors, such as the extent of the damage caused, how soon recovery is started, age, and other medical conditions that may influence recovery.
According to the American Stroke Association, 10% of individuals who have a stroke recover almost fully, while 25% recover with slight impairments. Another 40% experience normal to severe impairments which require special care, whereas 10% require long-term special care in a hospital or nursing home.
Stroke Rehabilitation: What are your Options?
The kind of facility you choose will depend on the affected areas of your body and insurance coverage. Your physician, clinical social worker, and family members can assist you in choosing which setting will work best.
Certain clinics and hospitals have rehabilitation units requiring you to stay at the facility for several weeks. If you opt for outpatient care, you will receive rehabilitation services for a specific period every day, after which you can return home.
Some nursing homes provide specialized stroke rehabilitation programs that include occupational, physical, and other kinds of therapy that can speed up recovery. These therapy programs are generally not as comprehensive as those provided by hospital rehab units.
Home-based rehabilitation is ideal if you cannot travel long distances to a hospital or if you find it very costly. With the help of a specialist and the right equipment, such as the VitaGlide, you can create a comfortable and convenient rehabilitative environment in your home.
A key advantage of home-based rehabilitation is that you can improve your quality of life and independence without fearing judgment and staying surrounded by your loved ones. Depending on your symptoms, home-based rehabilitation can be a very accessible and affordable option as it allows you to incorporate various exercises and equipment.
Make the Most out of Home-based Rehabilitation with VitaGlide
VitaGlide is designed for people who want to rebuild strength after a stroke in a convenient, comfortable, and accessible environment. Going to the gym after experiencing a stroke can be very overwhelming. Fortunately, at-home exercises are a great way to mobilize your body and work great on their own or as a supplement to your current recovery rehabilitation routine. Adding an upper-body machine that can elevate your wellness routine from the comfort of your room is worth the investment.
VitaGlide is a state-of-the-art machine and a top equipment choice of many rehab centers, gyms, and even homes to improve upper body muscles and core strength. It has been regarded as one of the most effective conditioning exercises for people who use wheelchairs since it allows them to achieve their physical activity goals quickly and more effectively. The seated machine utilizes most muscle groups, helping you develop endurance, increase energy levels, and establish your arm, core, and oblique muscles.
This one-time investment is more worthwhile than taking long, expensive trips to the gym every other day. You adjust the intensity or frequency of the workouts according to your requirements and fitness goals and work out even in the middle of the night. You can incorporate different shoulder exercises with VitaGlide, as it allows you to move them without putting added strain on them.
With the two upper-body exercise motions that give you the feeling of cross-country skiing or rowing, the machine fortifies the musculature of your core, shoulder orbit, and upper body. Other excellent features include interactive software, an ergonomic design, and adjustable resistance, which make VitaGlide a must-have for all your exercise and strength-building needs. Get in touch with a doctor or physical therapist who can help you build the right strength-building exercise program for optimum results.