5 simple exercises for amazing home stroke rehab progress
Here are 5 simple exercises you can do at home to help kick-start your rehabilitation progress!
Stroke doesn’t affect us all in the same way. As a result, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery. There are hundreds of exercises designed to help but it can all be so overwhelming. It isn’t easy to know where to start so we have picked out 5 simple upper-limb exercises to get you going. Don’t forget, if something doesn’t feel quite right, seek professional advice. Ready to kick-start your rehab progress? Let’s go…
1. Fingertip taps
- Sit up at the table with feet flat on the floor and hands on top of the table
- Place a rolled up towel underneath your affected arm
- Adjust the height of the towel so your fingertips just touch the table
- Lift your fingers up off of the table and then back down
Set a timer for 30 seconds. Count how many fingertip taps you can complete in the time. Repeat the exercise again and try to beat your previous score. Write down your fastest attempt everyday and see your progress over time!
Lower the height of the support underneath your arm.
2. Thumb taps
- Place a plastic cup upside down on the table
- Place your affected hand around the cup
- Rest your thumb and index finger on top
- Slide a pencil underneath your thumb and index finger
- Reach your thumb as far down the pencil as possible away from your index finger
Set a timer for 30 seconds. Count how many thumb taps you can complete in the time. Repeat the exercise again and try to beat your previous score. Write down your fastest attempt everyday and see your progress over time!
Try alternating between completing completing the movement as fast as you can and as slowly as you can.
3. Open the door!
- Place your arm on the table bent to a right angle
- Hold a small towel between your elbow and your torso
- Open and close your arm in a door-like manner reaching as far as you can
Using a piece of newspaper, mark how far you can open your arm. Record each time you beat your current best effort.
Repeat the exercise holding an object to add weight and resistance. Try a salt shaker or a water bottle.
4. Reach for the stars
- Stand side-on to a mirror with your arms by your side and palms facing behind you
- Lift your arm up in front of you keeping your wrist and elbow straight
- Use your unaffected hand to guide the movement
- Use the mirror to ensure you are not bending your arm or slouching
Take note of how high you can hold you arm up each day. Hold your arm at the highest point you can reach for a few seconds before lowering it down again.
Complete the exercise without using your second hand for support. You can make it even more challenging by repeating the exercise holding a bottle of water.
5. Lean on me (and you’ll get strong)
- Sit down on a wide surface with both feet flat on the floor
- Place your affected hand on the seat about 10-30cm away from you
- Gentle place weight on your affected side
- Slowly rock back to a neutral position
Slowly rock from side-to-side moving your weight on to your affected arm, back to neutral and then onto your unaffected arm. Repeat this movement slowly. Gradually add more repetitions.
When leaning on your affected side, hold the position for a few seconds. Gradually increase the time you hold the pose for.
Some of the exercises may be uncomfortable but they should not hurt. If you experience any pain or are concerned you should discontinue the exercise and consult a professional. Before you begin, check that the exercises are suitable for your stage in rehabilitation.