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How Does Walking Affect Stroke Recovery?

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Statistics indicate that each year, more than 790,000 people in the U.S. experience strokes. The debilities caused by strokes vary depending on the location of the vascular accident and the severity of the damage. It’s common for stroke survivors to undergo therapy to regain speech and physical abilities lost from the event. Recently, a research group from the University of the West Indies learned that walking may be one of the best therapies stroke survivors can use to obtain recovery.

Some seniors have mobility challenges that limit their ability to walk after a stroke, but they may be able to do some limited form of exercise, and they can benefit a great deal from a professional caregiver’s assistance. The type of in-home care Ft. Lauderdale, FL, seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.

The Study

Dr. Carron D. Gordon and associates from the University of the West Indies were determined to learn the benefits of traditional therapy compared to simple daily walks. They gathered more than 150 people aged 42 to 90 who had experienced a stroke anywhere from six months to two years prior to the study. The volunteers were divided into two groups. One group received massage therapy to the affected regions of their bodies for 25 minutes three times a week for three months. The other group started walking for 15 minutes three times a week, and the time was gradually increased to 30 minutes three times a week. Like the massage therapy group, the walking group engaged in their activity for three months. Since stroke survivors often resort to reclusive behavior due to lacking energy, being self-conscious, or having a fear of falling, members of the research team supervised the walks, which also included a friend or loved one of the participant’s choosing. The stroke survivors also had the option of choosing the locations for their walks. 

Mental and emotional challenges like those mentioned above are common issues for stroke survivors, especially in the first few days or weeks at home after the stroke, when their ability to manage their own health and safety without assistance may be severely limited. Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Lauderdale-by-the-Sea live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life.

Three Months After the Study

Following the culmination of the study three months later, the walking group walked faster than the study volunteers who had merely undergone massage therapy. During a six-minute test, the walking group was able to walk 290 meters, whereas the massage group was only able to walk 232 meters. The heart rate of the walking group averaged 78 beats per minute, while the heart rate of the massage group averaged 84 beats per minute. The walkers also said they felt the exercise enhanced their quality of life. They felt more physically fit and had more endurance.

Neurologist Dr. Cheryl D. Bushnell from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center enjoyed learning about Dr. Gordon’s research. She feels exercise is not emphasized enough. The study demonstrated that simply walking enhanced quality of life and increased longevity.

The results were also impressive because the American Heart Association typically recommends that seniors get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Yet the study participants experienced dramatic results by exercising 90 minutes per week. The researchers want to learn more about how walking might affect blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and whether walking may also be an easy means of preventing recurring strokes.

Whether they’re able to exercise or not, seniors recovering from strokes often benefit greatly when they have a highly trained professional stroke caregiver on their team to help them recover safely and comfortably at home. Galt Ocean Mile at-home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently. To create a customized home care plan for your loved one, call (954) 909-0370 today.