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My Exercise Routine

Following my stroke, the effects I have been left with are ataxia, proprioception and lack of sensation in both my left hand and foot. I also have distorted vision, and my mobility has been affected. 

“I really don't think I need buns of steel. I'd be happy with buns of cinnamon.”

 

Ellen DeGeneres

Physiotherapy

I've got exercises I've been doing since rehab and have continued since coming home. Now I'm home. I've adapted my exercise regime. I've restarted Pilates. This is something I was doing for years before the stroke, but it has been the most beneficial in my recovery so far. I do two hours a week with my instructor and roughly 30 minutes via my fitness app at home. This app has pre-recorded videos from professional instructors and covers everything from core workouts to HIIT to meditation. I also have individual exercises, including leg raises, bridges, step-ups with a fitness block, and stability exercises using a wobble board and a giant gym ball. I go swimming once a week. This has been excellent at helping rebuild my core and general fitness. The app I use has workout sessions that last for different amounts of time; I tend to stick to the ones that are about 20 minutes and aim to do these once every other day. I've also been boxing with someone wearing pads and moving their hands around to test my standing balance and flexibility. When it comes to any balance-related exercises, it's safer to do them with someone. You will find the list of equipment I've been using on the product suggestions page.

 

Occupational Therapy

For OT, I've got a sensory bag of various items. My bag has different buttons: a keyring, sandpaper, a belt buckle, and other bits. I bought a pack of giant cards. They are bigger and so much easier to handle. Both cards and board games with small pieces (I like using Cluedo) are helpful for finger manipulation and fine motor control. When working on my grip (and my vision), I've been using a stress ball, and I found that my hobbies of tie-dye and gaming have also helped with this. To practise grip and fine motor control, I've been playing Jenga and will use my left hand to pick up small items, such as a connect four counter. However, since being home, I found that going out in the local community is the best practice from an OT perspective. A lot of this also relates to PT skills; for example, in the supermarket, you have to be able to keep your balance and transfer your weight safely to be able to take items off the shelves. In a café, practising your sit-to-stand is essential. On one occasion, I slipped and fell backwards when trying to stand up. I was fine (other than a dent to the ego). I've been using a combination of a walker and nordic pole for community access. 

 

Speech Therapy

I've been practising by going out into the community. Due to my loss of ability to touch type, I'm using the microphone with my computer. I have a MacBook Air and use a dictation app called "Dictation - Speech to Text." I currently pay £17.99 per year (2023). Having a microphone makes you annunciate your words incredibly clearly, and it's probably more pernickety than a human therapist. Going out into your community will give you plenty of practice for speech therapy! I also have a facial massage twice a month to help the weaker side of my face.

 

Feel free to look at the links to the products I've been using. If you would like any more information about therapy exercises or products, please send me an email. One big thing I would say is don't beat yourself up! If you have a day when you're tired or only manage one thing and feel wiped out, that's fine. The brain needs time to rest.

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