“Most recovery occurs in the first 6 months. Recovery past this is associated with exercise and physical conditioning.”
What is it?
A stroke occurs when there is inadequate blood flow (ischemia) to a part of the brain or when a rupture or bleed (haemorrhage) of a blood vessel occurs that results in neurological deficits lasting longer than 24 hours. The interruption of blood supply prevents brain tissue from receiving oxygen and nutrients that results in brain tissue death and the subsequent neurological alterations.
What is a stroke?
The associated symptoms and the severity of the loss of function varies greatly according to the specific location and the extent of the brain involved. Common stroke symptoms may include weakness, paralysis, spasticity, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, communication difficulties, behavioural alterations, and gross motor function impairments (e.g. walking).
Exercise and Stroke Rehabilitation
Your brain is a remarkable piece of biological engineering. At Physical Evolution, our neurological rehabilitation team of Exercise Physiologists and Physiotherapists strive to promote restoration of function through movement and exercise. This promotes the functional reorganisation and rewiring of neural pathways. Research shows that healthy areas of the brain surrounding the damaged brain tissue can take over and compensate for functional loss.
Exercise is an evidence-based, safe and effective treatment modality in stroke rehabilitation. At Physical Evolution, exercise play a key role in stroke rehabilitation by:
Research highlights that the average aerobic capacity (the ability to distribute oxygen throughout the body) of a stroke patient is substantially below the minimum aerobic capacity necessary for independent living. Our team of exercise physiologists and physiotherapists can prescribe safe and appropriate aerobic exercise can help to maintain and improve one’s aerobic capacity.
Bone is living tissue that responds to forces placed upon it. Exercise promotes force through our bones and reduces the rate of bone loss. The higher one’s bone mineral density, the lower their risk of bone fracture.
Exercise has been shown to reduce cortisol levels (our stress response) and increase levels of serotonin, dopamine and endorphins (collectively known as the happy hormones).
A neurological injury (such as stroke) can disrupt the transmission of nerve signals that can result in an increase in muscle tone. Over-time, prolonged muscle tension may result in a muscle imbalance that has the potential incur a permanent shortening of a muscle-tendon unit (known as a contracture). Exercise Physiology and Physiotherapy in neurological rehabilitation aim to address muscle imbalances by promoting sufficient range of motion to a joint.
Exercise helps to lower blood pressure which is the leading modifiable risk factor for stroke.