After suffering from a stroke, there's a good chance that you lost much of the strength and control of one side of your body. This condition may make you feel helpless, but there is hope in strength training and physical therapy. And a recent study on the effectiveness of one-sided exercise found incredibly positive results.
What The Study Found
A recent study took 19 different people who had suffered from serious strokes, on average, about 80 months before the study. It was designed to test the effectiveness of one-sided exercise on improving the strength of the affected side. One-sided exercise had been used in the past by weightlifters to increase muscle mass on a weaker side, but this was one of the first studies into its effectiveness on treating strokes.
When the study was finished, the scientists were shocked by the results. By spending six weeks exercising the non-affected side of the body (working ankle muscles 25 minutes a day, three times a week), 30 percent of the people in the study had equivalent strength gains in both legs. In fact, four people who could couldn't flex their feet on the affected side gained the ability.
A Typical One-Sided Exercise Routine
If you are interested in trying out a one-sided exercise routine, you need to talk to your doctor about the types of exercises you can manage. Typically, one-sided exercises include a variety of challenging poses, including one-legged squats, stiff-legged deadlifts, bench presses, and one-arm dumbbell presses.
After a stroke, your balance may be affected, which can make many of these exercises difficult. If you are working out at home to supplement your physical therapy exercises, it's a good idea to have a workout partner available at all times. They can help you balance in more difficult exercises.
Easing Into A Routine
Jumping into a one-sided exercise routine after a stroke is a dangerous option. That's why you need to carefully ease into it over a several-month period. Start by working out 5-10 minutes, three days a week, depending on your ability and strength. As you're focusing on one side, there's a good chance that you are going to get tired more quickly than you would otherwise.
As you begin feeling stronger and more capable, try to work out up to 30 minutes per workout period. Typically, you're going to want to exercise at least three or four times every week. However, feel free to adjust your exercise based on your strength and ability.
Focusing on a one-sided exercise routine can help you restore much of the strength you lost after a stroke. While it may not restore you to your pre-stroke health, it can help make life a lot easier for you and your loved ones.