Getting active: the benefits of strength training

dumbbells on a track

We all know that exercise is good for you. But how do different types of exercise benefit you? This month we're exploring the benefits of strength training.

Exercise in general is really important to maintaining good physical and emotional health, especially after stroke. Being active can help to reduce fatigue, improve your independence, boost your confidence and reduce pain.

It is also a great way to reduce your risk of another stroke by:

  • Slowing the clogging up of your arteries
  • Keeping your heart healthy
  • Lowering your blood pressure
  • Stabilising your blood sugar
  • Reducing the cholesterol in your blood

We recently developed a stroke recovery exercise programme in collaboration with A Stroke of Luck. They are a charity that specialises in exercise-based stroke recovery.

This exercise programme lasted four weeks with each week focusing on a particular theme, including exercises to build strength.

Benefits of strength training after stroke

The goal of strength training isn't to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Building strength is important for lots of different daily activities.

Take cooking a meal. It requires strength in both our core and our legs. Doing a bit of weeding in the garden needs strength in both your arms and your core. Even a quick dust around the room before a friend pops by is easier when your core and arms are stronger.

According to research, strength training after stroke can improve the quality of life of survivors. Not only can it help you to do household tasks, it can also have a positive impact on your mood.

And this is why we included a week of strength training exercises in our recent programme.

Some of these exercises included things like lifting a tin or water bottle or doing a few press ups against a wall. There are three mobility groups to choose from.

Strength exercises for green group
Strength exercises for amber group
Strength exercises for red group

Not sure which group is right for you? Watch the introductory video our website here.

Getting started with strength training after your stroke

Before starting any new exercise programme, you should always speak with your GP. It can also be a good idea to speak with your physiotherapist and occupational therapist. They may have ideas for exercises you can do and suggestions for supporting any disability you may have.

If you aren't sure where to start, why not see if your local stroke group has any exercise sessions? These could be instructor led aerobics, dance classes, and more.

As mentioned above, you could also try our four-week or 12-week exercise programmes. Both programmes have exercises for different mobility levels. You decide which is right for you.

If you’re worried about getting active after stroke, we have some practical tips that may help. This covers everything from advice on managing vision problems to answering some common worries.

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