Did you know that the lack of exercise is one of the factors that can contribute to a stroke? Exercise matters even more if you have already had a stroke but our tendency is to exercise less after a stroke. You can help prevent a stroke by exercising.
It’s Time to Start Moving
Most young people never think that a stroke is in their future so they tend to ignore advice from older people who have been around a while. I know this as I never thought I would have to worry about a stroke. The more important point I want to get across is exercise is even more critical if you have already had a stroke.
Did you know that your risk of a second stroke is about 10 times higher if you have had one in the past?
This is not an easy topic to discuss as there are many types of strokes and the physical effects are different for everyone. The most important thing I can say here is everyone needs to get direction and recommendations from their doctor or physical therapist.
My stroke was light so I fully recovered physically within two months but others may have trouble walking so “exercise” will be different for all of us. This is where your health care providers will help create a program that is right for you and your situation.
So, let’s focus on what I hope we can all do. We can stay determined to keep moving forward, no matter how hard, no matter what is asked of us, and not give up. Someone once told me that they felt like it was ok to give up trying because they were always going to be a certain way. Trust me when I say, “I can relate.” But let me ask you something.
What kind of life will you have if you give up?
Here’s the worst case scenario. You find that you never get significant improvement in your mobility. So now what? Are you still going to give up?
SOMETHING TO PLAN FOR
We all need something to look forward to or plan for. I am not saying to be unrealistic but we have to find something to believe in. We need something to hope for. We need something good.
My mother has had several strokes in her life but she was able to recover from all of them. Her last stroke was a different story. It was an extreme stroke that has left her with a severe speech problem and other physical problems that causes my father to be with her 24/7. The stroke happened in 2011 and she has not made any significant improvement even though she goes to physical therapy several times per week.
I bring this up for one important reason. Both of my parents have found a way to keep positive and hopeful in a difficult situation.
This is critical because they continue to talk about things they are looking forward to doing again and that they believe my mother will fully recover. I have often thought about telling them that the physical recovery may not happen but I could be wrong and more importantly, the hope and optimism they have is a huge part of what keeps them happy.
We all have to find ways to deal with all kinds of situations in our lives. My parents are dealing with an extreme situation but they are optimistic and hopeful. People constantly come up to them and ask them how are they always so happy and how do they get along so well.
One of the primary reasons is their faith in God but another reason is they never lose hope and the thought of a better future. They have been married for 51 years and have made it through many situations and this one is more difficult but they handle it as they have with all the things in their life. They pray together first about everything.
So You Thought This Was Going to be About Exercising
Well it is about exercising but there are so many other things that are more important and we cannot all do the same kinds of exercise.
You have to be determined and make exercising a priority. I can tell you that I have missed out on a lot of exercising because other things were a higher priority when they shouldn’t have been. We all have reasons other things are more important but for a stroke victim, eating right, exercising, reducing salt, etc., along with a few other things, should be right at the top of our priorities as this will determine if we have another stroke or heart attack.
Find out what exercises you can safely take part in and make it happen every day. It doesn’t matter if your exercise is squeezing a ball multiple times. It doesn’t matter if it is going for a brisk walk or a lap swim. It doesn’t matter if you are stuck in bed, a wheel chair or if you are completely mobile.
What matters is “We” do all that we are capable of and do the things that are going to improve our lives.
Keep your chin up and find ways to be positive and hopeful. This is a critical part of your well-being. I’m not a health care provider so this is just coming from my personal experience with my own stroke and watching what my parents are going through.
Stay motivated, stay focused, keep your priorities right and find your hope for a brighter future.