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FATIGUE APP ARNI CHARITY ST 680x330 - Can an App Track and Help Tiredness? - Stroke Exercise Training

2019 04 15 13 28 45 - Can an App Track and Help Tiredness? - Stroke Exercise TrainingFatigue is often experienced after acquired brain injury and people often try to manage via fatigue strategies such as planning and pacing. In order to use such strategies, the individual needs to build a picture of how their fatigue affects them in daily life. Usually,  a daily diary sheet of sleep, rest, activity and fatigue is completed. Apps on smart phones are able to collect “in the moment” information about people’s fatigue experiences and to collect information about sleep and rest patterns. This information could help the person with brain injury, their carers and their therapists to learn about their fatigue more effectively, and identify triggers and patterns of fatigue.

brookes logo charcoal rgb 300x124 - Can an App Track and Help Tiredness? - Stroke Exercise TrainingA student researcher conducting his doctorate at Oxford Brookes University has developed an early prototype of an app, based on interviews with people with brain injury. This app works on android mobile phones and asks the user (who has experienced a stroke or other brain injury) to rate their fatigue, identify what they were doing at the time… and to complete a reaction time test.

The app collects information about the phone screen turning on and off as this relates to sleep patterns. The aim of this study is to investigate the usability of the mobile phone app to assess fatigue after acquired brain injury. This involves finding out users views about the design of the app, ease of use and how the app works in everyday life.

Here is what you would do:

Screenshot 20190326 143312 - Can an App Track and Help Tiredness? - Stroke Exercise Training

Screenshot 20190326 143245 - Can an App Track and Help Tiredness? - Stroke Exercise Training

Stage 1. You would meet with the researcher at Oxford Brookes University for up to 45 minutes, to  collect the app and learn to use it. The app would be installed on your phone but there is an option to use a phone purchased for the study. You would be loaned an activity monitor and the researcher would explain how to use it. You would complete a short questionnaire which involves answering 3 questions about you and your phone use.

Stage 2. You would respond to the app prompts on the mobile phone over the next 6 days. The phone app would ask you to:

  • rate your energy levels
  • answer a question about what you are doing when the phone app alerted you
  • complete the reaction time test.

The phone will prompt between 6 and 8 times a day. Responding to each prompt will take up to 2 minutes. You can ignore the prompt if you wish to. The app will not alert you between the hours of 8pm and 10 am.

Stage 3. After 6 days of using the app, you would be asked to meet with the researcher for 45 minutes. This involves complete a short questionnaire about the app. The research will also interview you to find out about your experiences of using the app. This may take place at Oxford Brookes, at your home or on skype (video call). The researcher will remove the app from your phone as needed. You will return any loaned equipment.

2019 04 15 13 20 11 - Can an App Track and Help Tiredness? - Stroke Exercise TrainingThe University thanks you in advance for your consideration: the student hopes that outcomes from this study will contribute towards the development of a usable app for assessing people’s experience of fatigue after brain injury. Such an app may then support more effective interventions for fatigue after brain injury.

Click the colour thumbnail advert to download study design, confidentiality details and click link here for full study design information sheet

Contact for Further Information

Leisle Ezekiel, PhD Student, Centre for Movement, Occupation and Rehabilitation Research (MOReS), Headington Campus, Oxford OX3 0BP

eisle.ezekiel-2014@brookes.ac.uk

Telephone: 01865 485530

or Dr Johnny Collet, Clinical Research Fellow, Centre for Movement, Occupation and Rehabilitation Research (MOReS), Headington Campus, Oxford OX3 0BP

Jcollett@brookes.ac.uk

Telephone:01865 483630

THERAPY AFTER STROKE ARNI R 770x330 - Therapy after Stroke: And Can Family Members Help? - Stroke Exercise Training

Physiotherapists aim to re-educate your movement, sensation and balance in order to enable you to reach their potential for recovery of mobility and independence. They can help assess your mobility and suggest and provide equipment such as walking aids, splints or wheelchairs.

Occupational therapists assess your ability to participate in activities of daily living such as personal care, kitchen tasks and ability to manage in the home environment. They provide therapy to support both physical and cognitive (thinking) difficulties.

lady in rehab web large - Therapy after Stroke: And Can Family Members Help? - Stroke Exercise TrainingIf you’re a current patient reading this, both are about to become your best friends. They are also going to be pushing you hard. This is for a very good reason however. They are going to get you moving. Focusing mainly on your physical rehabilitation, physiotherapists and occupational therapists usually build custom plans to fit these needs.

During your first appointment with your new therapists, they will thoroughly examine your body, consult your notes, and interview you and/or your loved ones about your symptoms and any setbacks so far. This will allow them to develop a plan that’s right for you, focusing on restoring movement and preventing problems that may occur after your stroke.

Your therapy regimen will revolve around specific goals, the achievement of which you and your therapists will work on together. If you are able to, you should make sure to ask questions, especially about your specific goals and timetable, in order to know what to expect from physical therapy, even though you will have hundreds of other questions now – for example: 35 questions stroke survivors ask. Similarly, family members, carers and friends should to help in this regard: to convey to you messages from what they are gathering about neurorehabilitation and how it applies in your case.

physicalTherapy 0 - Therapy after Stroke: And Can Family Members Help? - Stroke Exercise TrainingPhysiotherapy begins with the most basic tasks and movements, with the aim of protecting your more-affected side from injury. These gradually progress to exercises and tasks that aim to improve your balance, help you relearn basic coordination skills and functional tasks such as successfully handling objects and walking. During this time, what’s your overall mission to be? The answer is ‘everything you humanly can’. Along with post-stroke weakness in one or more limbs, stroke survivors of all ages frequently are de-conditioned as a result of immobility, fatigued on a daily basis and often have insufficient underlying motor activity to start the kind of task-related practice they need to do, which does make everything much harder.

Occupational therapy will involve teaching you to do practical tasks such as to attempt to put on a shirt, brush your hair or butter some toast. Real life task-attempts are probably the best form of therapy or training for the upper limb around. Both kinds of therapists will be working in conjunction with each other to help you regain function. The intensive input of your acute therapists is vital, and so is the nature of the approach taken by them toward helping you tackling your limitations.

The Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme (SSNAP), which audits the quality and organisation of stroke care in the NHS, reveals that you will receive just 35 minutes of therapy per working day. Over an average of 17 days (the typical stay length) you will get just 7.3 hours of physiotherapy. Will this be enough to help you recover optimally? Of course not. But it’s the best that can be offered at the moment, so finding a way to involve family members, carers and friends (who often feel quite powerless) augment is an idea that has merit and is not lost on rehab units.

Research indicates that stroke patients seem to recover lost or impaired physical abilities more quickly if family members pitch in to help them with exercise therapy. Only, however, if you are able to cope with it. Therapists are often wary of ‘allowing’ family members, carers or friends to attempt to mobilise you, as they are viewed as not being trained to do so (see also the caveat to this at the end of this post). Depending on your presentation and how long into your stay at the unit you are, some will judge that they can suitably give guidance for this to be done safely, depending on many unique factors concerning the patient, process and place. Research indicates that boredom is often reported by stroke survivors in hospital. Boredom will limit your engagement with therapy and subsequent recovery. Therefore, if families, carers and friends notice this happening and also witness/get to understand that the therapists have completely full case-loads, they should feel that it is ok to ask what they can do to help improve your recovery.

BOREDOM IN HOSPITAL 300x200 - Therapy after Stroke: And Can Family Members Help? - Stroke Exercise TrainingSurvivors are noted to be inactive (and alone, in therapy terms) for much of the day as inpatients. This is time that is acknowledged by Professor Nick Ward at UCL as time that could probably potentially be used productively for self-rehab efforts, given some clear protocols. Upper limb work tends to be less-emphasised in inpatient rehab, in favour of the ‘big moves’;  ie, seat to stand, weight-bearing, gait control attempts, muscle strengthening etc. Upper limb needs focus, but because this is most often not the case, patients often get frustrated.

Many ‘ignore’ their more-affected upper limb during the day except for some stretching of stretching, and upper limb splinting & sling usage can seem to ‘get in the way’ of this. But not prioritising the upper limb, especially grasp and release ability, even if the hand seems completely ‘lifeless’, is a big mistake. Patients could do with knowing what kinds of self-rehab strategies would be likely to be productive. but with so many other priorities, what can be done? 

70% of survivors will be left with upper limb difficulties. Successful Stroke Survivor manual and corresponding DVDs contain lots of exercises to help you train your more-affected upper limb. Given that you can be in a seated position, you will not be endangering yourself in terms of balance, leading to a possible fall. Take your bad hand and play with it with your good hand ceaselessly, stretch it, try to do tasks with it all the time, and do the myriad of trial and error experiments to try and produce breakthroughs.

For early in-hospital self-rehab, you need to be doing is ‘as much as you can’. Please note, the therapists must be consulted at all times if there is any doubt at all, as there will be many issues, from shoulder subluxation and pain, to upper limb splints that need guidance to be removed (if indeed a download 300x168 - Therapy after Stroke: And Can Family Members Help? - Stroke Exercise Traininggood thing to do so – it may not be, depending on daily presentation) that will be in play. One thing stands out from the evidence: that it has been shown that family participation in exercise routines for stroke patients empowers the caregiver’s help and may reduce their stress levels. Which is definitely a good thing. Making family members, carers and friends feel they are useful and contributing to the process is good.

From admission to discharge, by the way, you will receive a very small measure of upper limb rehabilitation compared to what your brain actually needs in order to stimulate new connections at this critical time. Recent findings show that intensive arm training early after stroke is acceptable and beneficial to patients (physically and psychologically). However, statistics also show that you will complete less than 4 minutes of activity-related arm training daily during rehabilitation (less than 4 minutes during physiotherapy and 11 minutes during occupational therapy). You might get more; it all depends on your hospital. It’s possible to try and do some in-hospital upper-limb training to boost this dose: check the ward’s rules with your therapist.

If you’re a current patient reading this, you’ll understand that your therapists can’t be there in the weekends or after work hours (although in some hospitals there are services to extend therapy hours): but still, your top priority is to regain crucial movement and take advantage of that ‘therapeutic time-window’ they talk with you about. These circumstances can actually be taken as a chance for your family members, carers and friends to become involved if they can, learning about the nature of your limitations and finding the out the best exercises to do to to help combat your limitations. A caution here. By this, I do not mean that they can must be moving you without your therapist’s guidance, permission and encouragement.

UPPER LIMB ARNI REHAB STROKE EXERCISES GUIDE 225x300 - Therapy after Stroke: And Can Family Members Help? - Stroke Exercise TrainingAsk your therapists for starter strategies for safe upper-limb work that you and your family/carers can do to supplement the work they are doing with you: they will be pleased that you asked. This guide shows safe stretches and a method to introduce upper limb exercise and comes with this laptop exercise board you can possibly use too (again, seek your therapist’s advice).

Your therapists are not miracle workers. They can seem to be so! But even they will acknowledge that they are just the essential guide to the process. They need some help if your chances for recovery are to be optimised, but help from family members, carers and friends to continue rehab needs to be balanced with risk. A major problem often encountered is that stroke survivors and their family members, carers and friends are usually not sure what exercises to usefully or safely perform.

The first key to success is understanding that keeping safe is good, but not moving is bad. Find out what can be done safely and do more, not less.

POCD 042618 300x200 - Therapy after Stroke: And Can Family Members Help? - Stroke Exercise TrainingInformation provision remains a commonly reported unmet need in rehab. Stroke survivors and carers consistently report that they do not know enough about the mechanisms, cause, and consequence of stroke. It is difficult to know whether this is a true expression of lack of needed knowledge or a reflection of stroke survivors’ and carers’ continued post-stroke uncertainty. A paper by Dr David Clarke and Professor Anne Forster at Leeds University published in 2015 in the Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare shows clearly that it’s important that stroke teams ensure that messages to patients and their families are consistent and that not only basic information is provided but also that they have the knowledge of where and how to access further information if required.

As far as weight bearing, balance and gait control etc are concerned, an interesting Australian paper of note was published this year in the Journal of Physiotherapy: Dorsch et al (2019) In inpatient rehabilitation, large amounts of practice can occur safely without direct therapist supervision: an observational study which concluded that in an inpatient setting, a large percentage of practice can be performed as semi-supervised practice and that this did not appear to compromise the time spent in active practice or patient safety. This was a small scale study (1319 patient observations) carried out in Australia, but with some possibly important observations… showing perhaps that involving families, carers and friends can contribute somewhat in ramping up the amount of weight-bearing/walking done in hospitals.

download 1 - Therapy after Stroke: And Can Family Members Help? - Stroke Exercise TrainingSimilarly for upper limb, perhaps encouraging a ‘directed to do/facilitated’ approach may have some merit to assist survivors to perform more adequate amounts of exercise with consideration to their differing presentations.

Family members/carers or friends may possibly do better by being supported/’equipped’ (in terms of a guiding of ‘how to help’) and maybe even external (NHS funded) short (online?) training sessions given, or maybe DVD guidance?).

This may go some way to counteracting feelings of powerlessness to help that carers often report whilst their loved ones are in clinic and similarly, once they are discharged,

Certainly, as those closest to you are usually the ones who will be carrying the ‘burden of care’ forward, addressing ‘carer needs’ requires attention. For sure, a focus solely on your needs alone can inadvertently lead to neglecting to support people who may experience considerable anxiety and hardship  (depending on circumstances) once you are discharged. They need to be as clued up as possible in order to help drive your rehab needs further. Knowledge is power!

(Please help inform readers further by writing your view/and or experiences in the Comments box below)

2019 01 30 13 23 06 770x330 - Understanding How to Beat Fatigue after Stroke - Stroke Exercise Training

Tiredness is something we all experience in our everyday lives. But fatigue is where we experience tiredness which is unrelated to physical or mental exertion, and is not alleviated by rest. Up to 70% of survivors experience fatigue, characterised by overwhelming physical and/or mental tiredness or exhaustion. For many the symptoms dissipate and lessen over time. Others continue to experience these symptoms at a high level many years after their stroke. This is called chronic fatigue.

It is a condition which can greatly impact upon the quality of an individual’s life, making everyday tasks feel overwhelming and unachievable, or just plain exhausting.

Previously, it was thought that patients who experience depression post-stroke were fatigued as a result of their mental health, whereas it is now highly possible that the inverse relationship may, in fact, be true. Fatigue may often be the cause, or a significant contributing factor, of depression.

There is currently no clinical method for diagnosing fatigue, and no treatment is available to alleviate the condition.

Dr Annapoorna Kuppuswamy 0357 Edited - Understanding How to Beat Fatigue after Stroke - Stroke Exercise TrainingResearch into fatigue is at its very early stages. Work to contribute towards a treatment has now been spearheaded by Dr Anna Kuppuswamy, the lead researcher on the project.

Her study aims to further general understanding of how fatigue works in the brain, and whether or not it can be alleviated. The goal for the future is to be able to diagnose and treat fatigue effectively, so that no-one need experience its debilitating effects.

So, how can you help?

STROKE SURVIVORS EXPERIENCING HIGH LEVELS OF FATIGUE –

Please come to help Dr Kuppuswamy’s Team test a new intervention for fatigue!

2019 01 30 12 51 55 - Understanding How to Beat Fatigue after Stroke - Stroke Exercise Training

The UCL study would involve three visits to 33 Queen Square to complete some computer-based tasks, as well as receiving some non-invasive brain stimulation.

The aim of the intervention is to test whether some of this stimulation can have a positive impact on the self-reported extent 2019 01 30 13 04 42 - Understanding How to Beat Fatigue after Stroke - Stroke Exercise Trainingof fatigue; at this stage, the impact may not be greatly significant or long-lasting but, as mentioned, the research is at the early stages and the goal is longer-term.

The sessions would not be particularly intensive, as the researchers are particularly understanding of how challenging it can be to live with fatigue. The minimum is one visit.

STROKE SURVIVORScome and take part in the screening and other tests (please view Study flyer by clicking on thumbnail copy of flyer above)

The Team will use your data as a control to further their understanding of the brains of those who have had a stroke and do not experience fatigue, and those who do experience fatigue.

If you think that you might be interested, please get in touch by emailing cameron.cook@ucl.ac.uk. You will be asked some questions to ensure you are eligible and can safely take part in their study.

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This UCL research study is funded by the Wellcome Trust and Stroke Association.

SLEEP AFTER STROKE - Sleep after Stroke: How does it Affect Recovery? - Stroke Exercise Training

Are you interested in learning about your sleep after stroke?

sleep ARNI stroke 300x300 - Sleep after Stroke: How does it Affect Recovery? - Stroke Exercise TrainingResearchers at the University of Oxford are currently investigating how sleep is affected by stroke.

Heidi Johansen-Berg is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Director of The Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging at the University of Oxford. There, she leads the Plasticity Group whose research focuses on how the brain changes with learning, experience, and damage.

As well as shedding light on how the healthy brain responds to change, The Plasticity Group’s work also has implications for understanding and treating disease. For example, they are currently studying how sleep can affect recovery after stroke.

Would you be interested in learning more about your sleep following stroke?

If so, The Plasticity Group are currently running a study in which you might be interested in participating – or you may know someone who is.

The aim for this study is to investigate how sleep is affected by stroke which could help to develop better sleep improvement programmes specifically for individuals after stroke.

sleep ARNI 300x206 - Sleep after Stroke: How does it Affect Recovery? - Stroke Exercise TrainingWe know that sleep plays an important role in learning. Studies have shown that if you take two groups of people and teach them the same skill, such as juggling, then allow one group to sleep for a few hours and keep the other group awake, the sleep group will perform significantly better when retested as they have been able to consolidate the memories of learning the skill through sleep.

Learning, or re-learning, of motor skills is a key component of motor rehabilitation after stroke. If sleep is impaired following stroke then consolidation of motor skills gained through physical rehabilitation may be diminished. Therefore, finding out about how sleep is affected by stroke could help us to develop better rehab outcomes following stroke.

sleep rehab brain ARNI stroke - Sleep after Stroke: How does it Affect Recovery? - Stroke Exercise TrainingThe current study involves coming to a research centre in Oxford for one session to complete a couple of motor assessments with the upper limbs and to answer a couple of questionnaires about your sleep and mood. Then researchers will set you up with a pair of sleep monitoring wrist watches for you to wear for a week with a simple sleep diary asking what times you go to bed and get up each day.

There has been limited work with stroke survivors and sleep so researchers at the University of Oxford are currently looking for people who have difficulty using their hand/arm after a stroke to take part in this study to see how recovery after stroke is related to sleep.

secondary logo - Sleep after Stroke: How does it Affect Recovery? - Stroke Exercise TrainingIf you would like to join this study/find out more, please feel free to contact the researchers:

Mr Tom Smejka: thomas.smejka@ndcn.ox.ac.uk

Dr Melanie Fleming: melanie.fleming@ndcn.ox.ac.uk

Professor Heidi Johansen-Berg: heidi.johansen-berg@ndcn.ox.ac.uk

CALL 01865 611461

ARNI cardiovascular trainin - Exercise after Stroke: Everything you Need to Know - Stroke Exercise Training

Being unfit and inactive are risk factors for stroke. And after stroke (depending on your pre-stroke status), you will be far less physically active and cardiovascularly fit. If you are in either category, if appropriate, this post might be helpful… 

exercise after stroke ARNI 300x200 - Exercise after Stroke: Everything you Need to Know - Stroke Exercise TrainingIn the UK, stroke services are developing/referring in to stroke-specific community exercise programmes. The system is reasonably analogous to the very well-established rehabilitation services for cardiac disease patients which usually start after usual rehabilitation has ended.

Standard community pathways for exercise and physical activity vary across counties and regions in the UK, but collaborations between health boards and council-run leisure centres have resulted in the establishment of exercise referral schemes which provide a range of exercise programmes delivered in usually in small group sessions. These often utilise community leisure resources.

You can enquire yourself about local services or be referred through local identification mechanisms (GPs, health professionals).

Additionally, some UK Charities, including Stroke Association, HeadwayDifferent Strokes and Strokeability offer free or minimal cost group exercise classes in multiple venues around the country, however these are generally low in frequency (once a week for approximately one hour in duration).

squatting exercising stroke neuro 300x279 - Exercise after Stroke: Everything you Need to Know - Stroke Exercise TrainingARNI offers group classes rarely, preferring to concentrate charitable efforts on getting instructors into people’s homes in order to provide that vital one to one rehabilitation support that can be achieved at lowest cost.

Weekly exercise classes for stroke survivors (who also have resulting physical limitations requiring rehab) should be considered supplementary to what you are already doing at home and elsewhere to attempt to recover. Cost does come into this of course.

Apart from ramping up physical activity and cardio activity, by far the most important part of recovery from many stroke survivors’ points of view is rehabilitation. Hence ARNI’s concentration on teaching you techniques to tackle hundreds of improvement activities including weight-bearing, balance and gait-control (including how to cope with drop-foot and reducing the required supporting power of the AFO over time, etc), coping strategies (such as getting down and up from the floor unaided and emergency action avoidance techniques, turning etc), upper limb training (tackling spasticity. flaccidty etc) one to one, with the help of a physio or trainer, as well as how to train for cardio effect independently at home.

Wow, there’s so much to do after stroke, right?

Well, yes maybe it seems like it, but segmented into mini-efforts, it can definitely be done. You have potential to do better. PLEASE don’t get disillusioned and not make a start.

This is going to be a long term effort, with sometimes little discernible result, but believe me, absolutely everything you do matters.

Let’s define things, so you can take action.

activity exercise 300x157 - Exercise after Stroke: Everything you Need to Know - Stroke Exercise TrainingExercise is a physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and purposeful.  Physical activity includes any body movement that contracts your muscles to burn more calories than your body would normally do so just to exist at rest. Although learning to enjoy and plan structured exercise into your routine would definitely improve fitness, it is not the only way to improve fitness. Activities of daily life keep your body moving and still count toward the recommended amount of weekly physical activity. Most importantly, no matter what your current fitness level, you are able to improve your physical fitness and therefore, your heart health, by increasing physical activity and/or exercise as you are able.

What you should be doing in terms of exercise is regarding it as comparable to a prescription of medication.

Ie, it’s probably best taken every day. You should only start exercising once you have recovered enough and only do as much as you can manage. Talk to your doctor or therapist about what is right for you.

Here’s how you can optimise everything  from now on (ie, minimise time on training and maximise time on LIVING LIFE!!).

These three priorities should be the ‘spend’ and the ‘reward’ is knowing you are doing everything optimally to recover and vastly diminish possibilities of further complications. 

  1. Try and secure rehabilitation at home one to four times per week with a physio or trainer. There are lots of options. Physiotherapy clinics are all over the place with some first-class physios ready to provide excellent rehabilitation. This website, of course, shows you how to get a physio or trainer in your area who will come to your house and help you optimally, for around £45 to £50 per full hour. This can be even be supplemented by telerehabilitation (focused on upper limb training) with your instructor for around £20, during the week. 
  2. Do cardio on a machine (stationary bicycle, recumbent bicycle, treadmill) at home every day, for 10 to 30 minutes, depending on status.
  3. Be as physically active throughout the day as you can.

Knowledge is power – let’s look at the meanings of cardiovascular exercise, sedentary behaviour and physical activity  – so that you can quickly figure out the optimal choices for you – and how best to save time and money.

ARNI cardiovascular activity - Exercise after Stroke: Everything you Need to Know - Stroke Exercise TrainingCardiovascular exercise covers everything from walking, jogging or running over-ground or on a treadmill (with or without bodyweight support such as the Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill), to cycling, recumbent stepping or swimming. Many people call it ‘cardio’ exercise.

Cardio is a therapeutic intervention that, despite the known benefits, is under-utilised by clinicians during rehabilitation. So, do not feel guilty if you have not done any since your stroke. But let’s start putting that to right.

exeercise stroke rehab physio - Exercise after Stroke: Everything you Need to Know - Stroke Exercise Training

Sedentary behaviours are basically any waking behaviours characterised by an energy expenditure of ≤1.5 metabolic equivalents (METs), while in a sitting, reclining or lying posture.

The chart shows you the different levels of physical activity.

Most stroke survivors are stuck firmly in sedentary behaviour levels.

Over the last 10 years, evidence has emerged that too much sedentary time (e.g. time spent sitting down) is related to a multitude of physiological consequences that result in reduced fitness, increased cardiovascular risk and increased risk of further sickness and even death.

It is important to note the distinction in definition between sedentary behaviours and physically inactivity (defined as: an insufficient physical activity level to meet present physical activity recommendations – e.g. not achieving 150 minutes/week of moderate intensity activity).

Note: an individual may be physically inactive but have low levels of sedentary time across their day, or vice versa. So, a person could meet physical activity recommendations but also spend considerable time in sedentary behaviours. 

But do daily METs really ‘tell the whole story’ of the health effects from physical activity? Maybe not.

A number of crucial physical attributes beyond daily METs for health are either unexplored or have received very little attention. For example, improvements in cardio fitness requires physical activity levels of relatively high intensity (>60% of maximal cardiorespiratory fitness). Thus, large volumes of daily METs at a lower intensity may improve metabolic fitness, but not cardiorespiratory fitness (due to insufficient stimulus on the cardiorespiratory system to adapt for higher physical activity demands).

Fitt Principle ARNI stroke - Exercise after Stroke: Everything you Need to Know - Stroke Exercise Training

Amazingly, workers in manual jobs (eg, cleaners) measured to walk about 20,000 steps per day still have poor cardiorespiratory fitness. On the contrary, high-intensity interval training for very short time improves cardiorespiratory fitness despite low total METs spent.

Given this, it is clear that you need to adjust some variables here.

The main principle used when defining and prescribing physical activity is called The FITT principle. 

The great news is that exercise training is a really potent stimulus for improving fitness and cardiovascular risk after stroke – and it doesn’t have to be at all onerous.

The dose of physical activity is different from person to person taking into consideration your capacity and limitations while also making sure you can adhere to the activity and safely complete it. And the best physical activities  provide progressive challenge over time.

It is recommended you should try and complete frequent but shorter sessions. This still may sound like a lot to do, but it does need to be contemplated. Look below at the chart ‘Interval Training Set’ for exactly how to do it.

Cardiovascular exercise has many health benefits to strengthen the heart’s efficiency.

The heart is one of the powerhouses of the body. When you strengthen your heart, you strengthen your whole system, including the arteries. With every heartbeat it puts pressure on your arteries, which transports a constant flow of blood throughout the body.

Exercise improves the heart’s efficiency by increasing the number of your smallest arteries called capillaries (this is called an increase in capillary density); which allows greater exchange of those nutrients your body requires. Cardiovascular exercise also increases the amount of blood that leaves the heart with every beat (stroke volume) meaning the heart doesn’t have to beat as many times per minute; the heart essentially doesn’t have to work as hard, increasing its efficiency.

artertial stiffness arni stroke 300x167 - Exercise after Stroke: Everything you Need to Know - Stroke Exercise TrainingIn terms of your arteries, aerobic exercise decreases what is called arterial stiffness, this allows for the blood to be pushed along the arteries through proper dilation and contractibility, with an adequate amount of pressure.

A recent systematic review has shown that exercise interventions can result in clinically meaningful blood pressure reductions. Particularly if initiated early and alongside education about healthy lifestyle. In a haemorrhagic stroke, long-term arterial stiffness weakens the arteries. And with a rise in pressure, arteries can burst. Cardiovascular exercise is the first step to keeping or creating a healthy heart and arteries while a second intervention is diet. I will reveal more on healthy diet for stroke survivors in a next post. Your blood contains important factors that can keep you functioning properly, such as oxygen and many nutrients transported through the arteries.

training arni cardio stroke - Exercise after Stroke: Everything you Need to Know - Stroke Exercise TrainingIntensity of exercise is dependent on your heart rate or the amount of effort you feel you are exerting. To determine how ‘hard’ your heart is working and the intensity during exercise is also depended on your age. The more intense the activity the higher your heart rate will be. You might hear the phrase Rate of Perceived Exertion or RPE for short.

hitt stroke - Exercise after Stroke: Everything you Need to Know - Stroke Exercise Training

This is a scale that generally runs from either 6-20 (6 being resting while 20 is a maximal exertion during exercise) or a scale of 0-10 (0 being resting and 10 being maximal exertion during exercise). This scale is used to see how hard you perceive the activity to be.

It is advised to complete 3-6 days per week for 10-60 minutes per session depending on your status and the intensity of the exercise being completed. To get this done most efficiently, use the HITT principle, with permission from your GP.

HIIT training is high intensity interval traininga type of cardio workout where you will perform a set of exercises, alternating between high intensity periods and active or full recovery. These are short sessions of of intense work. The intense periods can vary from 10 seconds to 1 minute long and should be performed at 80 to 95% of maximum heart rate.

It should feel like you are working hard to very hard and be short of breath. If you use the talk test you would struggle to carry on a conversation. The recovery periods are performed at 40 to 50% of maximum heart rate. This is the period where you would feel comfortable and allow the body to recover and prepare for next work interval. You can also use the RPE chart where work intervals are between 8 to 10 and rest periods are from 4 to 6. The relationship between the work and rest periods is very important. The length of work and rest can be equal in length or the rest period can be shorter than the work period. This depends on your fitness levels as well as what you are actually doing in your work period.

CHOICE OF CARDIO EXERCISE A - Exercise after Stroke: Everything you Need to Know - Stroke Exercise TrainingCardio exercise. It’s a good idea to plan from the start, how you are going to get cardio exercise done by yourself at home. In the beginning you may be nervous about doing some exercise training at home without supervision, but if you’re smart about it you can do it safely and successfully.

What to buy? It depends on your wallet, space in your house and other personal factors of course, but some general advice below.

Stationary exercise machines such as bikes are great, as you can use them without worrying about your balance.

A rowing machine is probably a no-no – it’s a sure-fire way to mess with your shoulder if you have subluxation in your more-affected upper limb.

Treadmills are risky unless you have two hands that work (you do need to be able to hold on!)

Ellipticals are often hopeless for those with upper-limb weakness (the more-affected hand cannot hold onto the handle), but some survivors make them work, no problem.

A much better bet for stroke survivors are stationary bikes that are more horizontal in nature rather than vertical.

These are known as recumbent or semi-recumbent bikes (depending how reclined it is). These types of gym bikes can be picked up relatively affordably from a variety of places. These are, for many, much better solutions. And they hold an excellent re-sale value.

DKN RB 4i Recumbent Exercise Bike 1024x1024 - Exercise after Stroke: Everything you Need to Know - Stroke Exercise TrainingI strongly advise the recumbent bicycle for stroke survivors with upper limb limitations – this solution is the best I’ve found. Here is my own one. See pic too. It sits in my office and is absolutely great. If you get one, you can prop an Ipad on the small tray where the display is and watch box sets or TED talks on youtube as you pedal!

I also have a commercial treadmill (fold-up one) in my office and do fast walking, covering around two miles per day on it using inclines varying from 0% to 15%. I also wear a 20kg weighted back pack. I try and do two sessions of 23 minutes each to complete the 2 miles. Sometimes it’s just one mile I manage to get done on top of weight training. This is actually just to ramp up physical activity (and a bit more power) in my more-affected leg.

But obviously I’ve worked up to this. I’m also holding on tightly throughout, to both handles! So this advice is only for those stroke survivors who have been spared upper limb limitations, or have rehabilitated  to such a good functional level that they feel able to use the treadmill safely. You will find that the treadmill has a fail-safe cord on it too which cuts the motor if you move too far from the control bar.

You can get amazing deals on these. I got mine for around £430. New, they are around £1100. This was because it was an ex-demo model. I just ensured that it was refurbished before buying. Have a look at Fitness Superstore. In this link I’ve found you the page for reduced price treadmills.

Mainly, it’s about doing what you can do, within exercise after stroke guidelines which are clearly available just by googling.

TargetHeartRatesPic - Exercise after Stroke: Everything you Need to Know - Stroke Exercise TrainingA final point: it’s a good idea to monitor yourself while exercising, so you can follow your own progress and also know when you need to push yourself a little further. There are several ways you can do this. Heart rate monitors are a great way to keep track of the intensity you are working at. Speak with your GP to find out what heart rate you should be working at for your age.

Pedometers are probably a more readily available and simple way to monitor how much you do in the sense of how many steps. However, ideally you want to be doing these steps fast if you want to improve your health and fitness. Physical activity watches such as a FitBit can track all sorts of things throughout your day such as activity, sleep and heart rate. If you want a way to begin tracking your activity levels to continue with your recovery one of these gadgets could be very useful in tracking your improvements over time.

Kettle Pouring Water Into Teacup 300x300 - Exercise after Stroke: Everything you Need to Know - Stroke Exercise TrainingIn terms of physical activity, I encourage you to incorporate a variety of exercises in to your lifestyle. Particularly things like getting out of your residence and walking as well as you can (accompanied as appropriate), swimming (swimming classes for stroke survivors are often available and run by some ARNI INSTRUCTORS) and are a great way to socialise while achieving something.

Physical activity, rehab activity and cardio activity – each one followed by kettle and mug activity!

All is possible!

silver ARNI task board 770x330 - 2 Best Low-Cost Gift Choices for a Stroke Survivor - Stroke Exercise Training

Are you looking for something to send a stroke survivor friend or to advise someone to get for you for Xmas? If so, these 2 low-cost gifts could be what you need. Both are available in limited supply for under £100!

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I. If you want to give someone the ultimate home DIY exercises to help them recover, try this.

A login/password for anytime online streaming access (straight to ipad, phone etc) to the full DVD series of the well-known ‘Successful Stroke Survivor’!

This is a great gift. You can also send a gift of the actual DVD set for their DVD player too.

Exercises are for people of all levels – wheelchair-bound to those with ‘fine-tuning’ requirements. It’s all there.

Click here for more and find a Xmas saving of £40 on combined cost of all the DVDs.

 

P1030642 200x300 - 2 Best Low-Cost Gift Choices for a Stroke Survivor - Stroke Exercise Training2. If you want to help your friend recover use of their hand after a stroke, this brand new item is hugely popular at the moment!

P1030619 300x200 - 2 Best Low-Cost Gift Choices for a Stroke Survivor - Stroke Exercise TrainingIt’s called the Stroke Task-Training Board and allows for standardised repetitive hand training. This can be used at any point to help retrain the upper limb – particularly the grasp and release.

Comes with 11 customised items that have been found by ARNI to work best for variety in terms of texture and shape.

Comes with a special 10 page colour Guide. Ultra-helpful for the stroke survivor!

Click here for more and find a Xmas saving of £10 on each Board.

 

Extra!

alex roantree and card 225x300 - 2 Best Low-Cost Gift Choices for a Stroke Survivor - Stroke Exercise TrainingYou might also want to buy some cards to support ARNI! 

Get your set (or sets) of 10 ARNI Stroke Charity Christmas cards!

These are A5 and very thick card.

We hope you love the design done by a young stroke survivor with his affected hand!

 

P1030646 770x330 - Get Task Training Board: Do Upper Limb Rehabilitation After Stroke! - Stroke Exercise Training

All therapists know what a challenge it is to try and help patients gain further action control of the more-affected upper limb. For ultra-effective upper limb training, get your task-specific training board shown here in conjunction with stretching before and after each grasp and release sequence.

red 1 ARNI task board 300x200 - Get Task Training Board: Do Upper Limb Rehabilitation After Stroke! - Stroke Exercise TrainingIf you or your loved one has upper limb limitations, this can be an excellent way to ‘increase the dosage’ of repetitions.

As Professor Nick Ward at the Institute of Neurology points out continually, in his and his team’s efforts to get stroke survivors to do more to engage the upper limb, ramping up the amount of grasp and release efforts performed daily may be most likely to increase neuroplasticity and accelerate recovery.

At last, available to you is the Upper Limb Task-Training board, as described in Successful Stroke Survivor and accompanying DVDs.

An innovative and simple idea created by Dr Tom Balchin which has helped thousands of survivors around the world since 2011, is now standardised here for you with his ideas of optimal content.

P1030619 300x200 - Get Task Training Board: Do Upper Limb Rehabilitation After Stroke! - Stroke Exercise TrainingRed, Pink or Silver: choose your colour for a Christmas gift to yourself or another!

Comes with a full colour, fully illustrated 10-page A4 GUIDE for use.

The laptop tray, which can be opened and locked at any angle, is covered with strategically placed Velcro hook and comb strips and squares. 11 different tactile items, each with different manual challenge, have been sourced and purchased for stroke survivors to practice grasp, place and release. 

2018 11 21 15 14 56 - Get Task Training Board: Do Upper Limb Rehabilitation After Stroke! - Stroke Exercise TrainingThese are really great for people to try, if there is spasticity or flaccidity present – and this is the stepping stone that we have found for countless ARNI patients over the years that works to progress their hand from one phase to another. Best advice is always start off with the wooden pegs in slots. Physiotherapists have, among their many upper limb measures, a test called the ‘9 hole peg test’. This is an idea borrowed and scaled up from that test, with slots to enable practice. Advice is (all present in the Guide), is to start off with these, working on ‘getting the gap’.

UPPER LIMB ARNI REHAB STROKE EXERCISES GUIDE 225x300 - Get Task Training Board: Do Upper Limb Rehabilitation After Stroke! - Stroke Exercise TrainingDr Tom shows you in the Guide how to try create the temporary ability via a particular stretching sequence how to maintain a gap between thumb, index and middle finger to enable a grasp upon command. The idea is to work up to being able to go up and down the line, lifting and replacing.

When you can do this, it’s time to move on to more challenging items on the board. The longest, smoothest and widest items are the most challenging. The Velcro always keep the paretic hand from knocking over items as the survivor attempts to grasp items until more fluidity/accuracy is gained. All is explained in the Guide and DVDs. You are going to like this approach; it gives SERIOUS RESULTS in terms of action control.

This is a must-have for all stroke survivors with upper limb limitations. 

Sourcing the varying of thickness and adhesiveness of very high-strength Velcro, the cost of the lockable laptop board itself, combined with the cost of the items adds up surprisingly. We have done all this and put the time in to create and offer you this at the very best possible price to cover outlay.

Get yours here to help yourself or your loved one with ARNI style upper-limb training… and get a fully-illustrated colour 10 page accompanying Guide with it! 

Go to the Products page to get the Task-Board.

IMPORTANT – Instructors and survivors will also be using this board together for forthcoming upper-limb telerehab sessions.

ARNI CHRISTMAS CARD 606x330 - Help Stroke Survivors: ARNI Christmas Cards (100% to Charity!) - Stroke Exercise Training

 

alex roantree and card 225x300 - Help Stroke Survivors: ARNI Christmas Cards (100% to Charity!) - Stroke Exercise Training

Forgive us mentioning Christmas cards in November! But if you do send cards this year,  do think about getting some of these?

100% of your money will go back to ARNI Charity to help support survivors and families to deal with the aftermath of stroke and other acquired brain injuries.

The card itself was created by one of our survivors, Alex, who came to us aged 8. He is now 13. He used the training he had done over these many years to conquer/manage the effects of spasticity in his hand – and created this superb and meaningful image on the card!

ARNI CHRISTMAS CARD 208x300 - Help Stroke Survivors: ARNI Christmas Cards (100% to Charity!) - Stroke Exercise Training

He was able to fully open his more-affected hand, keep it open without assistance, paint on it and lay it flat without assistance, on a piece of paper – then sprinkle glitter and so on. It sounds easy to those without upper limb spasticity (one of his limitations), but it was the result of years of training, goals, micro-achievements etc.

There is a few lines of explanation on the back of the card for your recipients…

Card is SUPERB quality thickness and A5 size.

Limited stock available… do have a look!

Press here GET MY CARD SET!

 

atrial fibrilliation ARNI 770x330 - Atrial Fibrillation raises risk of stroke by 5: can you tell if you have it? - Stroke Exercise Training

Did you know that Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is a contributing factor in up to 1 in 5 strokes in the UK?

2018 10 11 20 21 36 - Atrial Fibrillation raises risk of stroke by 5: can you tell if you have it? - Stroke Exercise TrainingGiven that around 1 in 5 women, and around 1 in 6 men will have a stroke in their life, you really need to be aware and checking up on this.

If you have an irregular pulse it could be a sign that you have an abnormal heart rhythm. AF is one of the most common forms of abnormal heart rhythm and a major cause of stroke.

AF might not be bad on its own, but it keeps bad company. Many people tend not to realise that AF is one of the largest risk factors for major strokes, and it can cause congestive heart failure and other cardiac diseases.

AF increases stroke risk by around four to five times because it increases the risk of a blood clot forming inside the heart. If the clot travels to the brain, it can lead to a stroke.

2018 10 11 20 21 00 - Atrial Fibrillation raises risk of stroke by 5: can you tell if you have it? - Stroke Exercise Training

The good news is that with appropriate treatment the risk of stroke can be substantially reduced.

Understanding, recognising and taking proactive measures against AF can potentially save your life.

2018 10 11 20 23 01 - Atrial Fibrillation raises risk of stroke by 5: can you tell if you have it? - Stroke Exercise Training

Part of what makes atrial fibrillation so dangerous is that many people with the disease may experience mild, negligible symptoms, or even none at all.

Your heart’s pumping action is controlled by tiny electrical messages produced by a part of the heart called the sinus node (sino-atrial node). The sinus node is sometimes called your heart’s ‘natural pacemaker’. Normally, the electrical messages are sent out regularly, with each message telling your heart to contract and pump blood around your body.

This is felt as a normal, regular heartbeat, or pulse felt at the wrist.

In the case of a very fast or irregular fast-beat, go and see a Doctor ASAP!

IMPORTANT: Diagnosing AF is usually a fairly simple process that includes a Doctor’s exam and an electrocardiogram (EKG). If AF is detected, your doctor may want to do follow-up tests and blood work to ensure there are no other underlying diseases such as high blood pressure.

Atrial fibrillation happens because, as well as the sinus node sending out regular electrical impulses, different places in and around the atria (the upper chambers of the heart) also produce electrical messages, in an uncoordinated way. These multiple, irregular messages make the atria quiver or twitch, which is known as fibrillation. This is felt as an irregular and sometimes fast heartbeat, or pulse.

By the way, if you’re wondering, genetics, other cardiac diseases, diabetes, obesity, smoking, sleep apnea, lung disorders, hormonal disorders and excessive alcohol consumption are all potential risk factors as well.

There is currently no cure for AF and the way it is treated is individualised to the patient’s needs. It may involve medication (both to prevent a stroke and to control the heart rate or rhythm) such as anticoagulant (blood thinning) drugs like warfarin or a newer type of drugs called NOACs., cardioversion (when the heart is given a controlled electric shock with the aim of restoring a normal rhythm) and catheter ablation (this works by scarring or destroying tissue in the heart that triggers the AF). Having a pacemaker fitted to help the heart beat regularly may also be an option for some people.

With grateful thanks to the Heart Rhythm Alliance, in partnership with MyTherapy.

rgnow 766x330 - The latest in stroke research in 2 days: UKSF Conference - Stroke Exercise Training

Stroke Survivors, as well as the professionals who treat them, need to be armed with the latest in stroke research in order to apply the evidence-base to their practice. For survivors, the definition of ‘practice’ I refer to means simply the way in which stroke survivors HAVE to know more about how to practise the kinds of action control that they would look like to do. This is about ramping up the ‘doses’ (input/repetitions) of training/treatment that are applied/guided and or autonomously-completed, with the idea of compiling multiple dosage over time to try and cause beneficial functional change.

2018 09 28 14 49 46 - The latest in stroke research in 2 days: UKSF Conference - Stroke Exercise Trainingfabienne malaprade ARNI stroke rehabilitation 300x225 - The latest in stroke research in 2 days: UKSF Conference - Stroke Exercise TrainingThe 13th UK Stroke Forum Conference takes place at The International Centre, Telford, from 4 – 6 December 2018 and it welcomes stroke survivors who want to find out more about how to tackle their residual limitations.

The conference will feature over 20 main conference sessions, each focused on a different aspect of stroke care, over 110 expert speakers and researchers giving talks on the latest research updates and service improvements, over 60 exhibition stands to showcase new innovations and industry developments and over 300 research posters including ongoing trials.

There will be practical workshops (ARNI Instructor Pete Rumbold will be giving a group class demo for stroke survivors who attend), stroke survivors sharing their experiences and debate sessions.

ARNI STROKE NEUROREHAB EXERCISES DATA e1538143643800 300x225 - The latest in stroke research in 2 days: UKSF Conference - Stroke Exercise Training30650320973 b5f6dc175b 200x300 - The latest in stroke research in 2 days: UKSF Conference - Stroke Exercise TrainingCome and see us at the ARNI table at the Charities section! We have been running a table for 10 years at this outstanding Conference.

It is without doubt the most major Conference for Stroke in the annual calendar.

You can view the preliminary programme and ‘at a glance programme’ here.

See the delegate rates for the UKSF Conference 2018.

For stroke survivors, the 2 day complete rate is just £182 (early bird) or £214. Compare this to standard 2 day rate of £436 (early bird) or £514!

I’ve never worked out how they do it at this price… please book RIGHT NOW to come along, if your circumstances allow you to, and take everything in. A large part of all this is networking too…

You can also get discounted accommodation

You need to be there! See you there!!

maxresdefault 300x169 - The latest in stroke research in 2 days: UKSF Conference - Stroke Exercise TrainingDe7YZiNX0AAnzw1 300x225 - The latest in stroke research in 2 days: UKSF Conference - Stroke Exercise TrainingIf you need to know a little more  about Conference before registering interest/calling the Stroke Association, please email tom@arni.uk.com and I’ll do my best to help with questions/steer to the right person at Stroke Association who can answer your question(s) asap…

For ARNI therapists/instructors and others who would like to come, the UKSF conference gives you the opportunity to gain relevant accredited professional training, find out the latest research and service developments, learn about new innovations and services in the exhibition and network with colleagues/meet professionals from across the entire care pathway.

Please hurry to book – these tickets are at a premium.



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