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The Surprising Exercise That May Help You Walk Again After A Stroke

To measure improvements in walking, the researchers asked participants to do three tests before and after the arm training. Test 1 measured the distance they traveled in six minutes; Test 2 recorded how fast they walked 10 meters; and Test 3 (officially named Timed Up and Go) determined how long it took them to sit, walk 10 feet, and then return to sit at their starting place. The progress made in walking, balancing and muscular activity observed in this study echoed those reported in previous ones that combined cycling arms and legs to rehabilitate patients with stroke. . . But how can single arm exercise lead to better leg function?

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The answer is neuroplasticity, or the adaptive capacity of your brain, says Ira Rashbaum, MD a clinical professor at the NYU School of Medicine who says: was not involved in the study, and former medical director of stroke rehabilitation at Rusk Rehabilitation NYU Langone. "The brain is a very dynamic organ and has the capacity to restructure itself throughout its life," he explains. For example, "in 2006, there was an article that showed with certain types of rehabilitative interventions, parts of the brain that had faced sensation (somatosensory cortex) could be remodeled to the motor cortex [the part that deals with voluntary movement] "

In this recent study, arm cycling likely created a similar effect of neuroplastic plasticity," says Rashbaum, "so when the nerves in the patient's arms have pulled, they may have stimulated the function. elsewhere in the body to compensate for areas damaged by a stroke, thereby contributing to walking ability.

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The results are promising, and again another reminder that what we know about stroke rehabilitation – from recovery time to treatment – is constantly changing. "Most of recovery that we see after a stroke occurs in three months, but especially with things like speech, language, cognition, and thought, these types of recovery may occur even years later, "says Rashbaum. "And with newer techniques … we're also seeing some improvement in walking well after a year after stroke." (That's what it's like to have a stroke at age 44.)

Such a technique is called weight-assisted treadmill workout Body (BWSTT), where a harness unloads the weight of a patient and prevents it from falling Again walking with the help of a rehabilitation therapist

Of course, the best way to minimize the impact of stroke is to recognize the signs of stroke and seek immediate medical attention. (Here's how to spot a stroke before it's too late.) Rashbaum suggests using the BE FAST method (balance, eyes, face, arm, speech, call time). 1-1) to check for scary symptoms affecting these areas, such as falling face or blurred speech. "If you are concerned that things are not neurologically correct, you should seek urgent care."

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