Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Brisk walking helps stroke survivors

I'm a fan of moving - people who run or walk regularly benefit in countless ways. Now, a recent story mentions that research indicated that brisk walking helps stroke survivors:
Researchers at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica had one group of stroke survivors follow a supervised program of brisk outdoor walking for three months. A second group, which did not do supervised exercise, received therapeutic massages.
The walkers started out by following a designated route for 15 minutes, lengthening the duration of their walk by five minutes a week until they walked for 30 straight minutes. As people became more fit, they gradually increased their pace, reaching 60 to 85 percent of their target heart rate. People in the massage group received light massage on their affected side for 25 minutes three times a week.
At the study's end, the researchers found that the people in the walking group walked 17.6 percent farther in a six-minute endurance test than did people in the massage group and had a resting heart rate that was 1.5 percent lower. What's more, the walkers had nearly a 17 percent improvement in their quality of life, based on physical health, compared with the massage recipients.
I'm convinced that my longtime running habits helped me recover from my stroke almost 15 years ago. If you're not into running, walking can be vital, too!


Irene C. said...

I've been trying to incorporate more walking since my stroke. My problem is the more I walk the more spasticity kicks in. Wonder if eventually the spasticity will decrease as I get stronger, even though walking is painful, or will it get worse?

Jeff Porter said...

Irene, that is a good question. In addition to asking your doctor, if you are working with physical therapy, those folks might be able to address it.

Anonymous said...

I walk all the time now. I think it helped me strengthen other areas of my rehabilitation, also.

Many people make comments about how amazing it is I'm always making a choice to walk. I explain that once I'd had the option of walking taken away, I will always walk when giving the chance now. The wheel chair was a great motivator for me to get up moving again!