Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Exercise may speed up stroke recovery, Edinburgh scientist says

Walking stick Image copyright SPL
Image caption People who have been active before their stroke are more likely to make a recovery but less is known how exercise can affect recovery after a stroke

Regular exercise can speed recovery for stroke survivors and may reduce their risk of having another stroke, according to an Edinburgh scientist.

Professor Gillian Mead's findings contrast with commonly held fears that exercise may trigger a further stroke.

She has looked at how exercise benefits stroke recovery for 10 years.

People who have been active before their stroke are more likely to make a recovery but less is known how exercise can affect recovery after a stroke.

The Edinburgh University expert will be speaking about her research at a public event this week as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Her findings reveal that a structured physical training plan - including aerobic, strength and balance training - can help stroke survivors to become more mobile, improve their balance and reducing their disability.

Exercise programmes

Professor Mead is currently investigating whether breaking up long periods of sitting or lying with short periods of movement might help to bring down the risk of having another stroke.

One in six people in Scotland will have a stroke in their lifetime and survivors can be left with varying degrees of disability.

More than half of all people who survive a stroke require support to live independently.

Professor Mead said: "We're working with fitness experts to determine the best exercise prescription for stroke survivors.

"It's also important that we understand more about the factors that put patients off from taking part in exercise programs, and how we can motivate them to take advantage of the benefits."

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