By Sara Lockard, PT, DPT, CBIS
Physical activity following a stroke or other cardiovascular condition is crucial in physical and cognitive recovery. Each year, about 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke and it is a leading cause of disability in the country.
Cognitive impairment such as memory loss, language problems, word finding and attention, are common after a stroke. Approximately 30 percent of stroke survivors develop dementia within one year of their stroke. According to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s 2017 International Stroke Conference, structured exercise can significantly improve brain function in stroke survivors.
When the stroke survivor is medically stable, a gradual and monitored increase in cardiovascular activity guided by a trained professional, such as a physical therapist or occupational therapist, can improve return to functional activity, independence in activities of daily living and return to work. A February 2017 news alert from the American Heart Association cites research in which both short and long duration physical activity programs provided significant improvements in cognitive function in acute and chronic stroke survivors. The authors also found that combined strength and aerobic training programs yielded the largest cognitive gains.
Our rehabilitation specialists at Madonna TherapyPlus are available to improve the quality of life for all levels of stroke survivors. With our expertise and technology, we can help improve physical and cognitive function for stroke survivors and help them return to work as well as daily and recreational activities.
To learn more about Madonna TherapyPlus, click here.