If you feel ready, you could try looking at structured exercise such as a workout, run or a group activity. Look for something that suits you. It could be something you do by yourself, or in a group.

Even if you prefer to exercise alone, you might enjoy having some support and encouragement from family and friends. You can do things like walking, running, swimming or cycling by yourself or with someone else. You can use a swimming pool to help build strength and stamina by doing squats and walking through the water.

To get some support, you could try posting your progress on social media, or a friend can help you to keep a record of your exercise.

Specialist rehabilitation groups

In some parts of the UK you can join a fitness group for stroke survivors.

The Stroke Association runs activity and fitness groups, and some health authorities provide groups for people with heart attacks, stroke or neurological problems.

You can ask your GP or stroke team if there is a local group you can be referred to.

Dance and exercise groups

You can look for a group activity that’s right for you. Activities like water aerobics, Zumba, spin, yoga and pilates all offer something different. You can choose something energetic that gets your heart working or you can focus on flexibility and strength. Some groups use music and some have a social side.

If you want to try a group but you are not sure if you can complete a whole session, ask to speak to the teacher in advance. They can suggest ways to adjust the class to suit you, such as having some extra breaks to avoid fatigue. Having to attend a class at a set time can motivate you to exercise.

Social activity groups

There are other leisure activities you can often do in a group such as environmental work, walking or cycling.

We have information about accessible leisure activities, and you can go online to look for local groups or organisations.

Getting back into sport

If you were very active or sporty before your stroke, you might want to get back to your old fitness levels as well as finding the same enjoyment from doing what you love. You may need to return slowly, to regain fitness and avoid injury after a break.

If you find that you can’t go back to your usual activity, you might be able to carry on with sport in a new way. Think about what you love about your sport. Is it being in a team? Is it about challenging yourself? Is it a sense of speed or danger, or enjoying moving to music?

Look around at other activities that might offer the same things. Some sports have inclusive versions such as walking football, sailing, rugby and tandem cycling. You might be able to access sport with some help or equipment, such as running as part of a relay team, or with a sighted friend if you have sight loss.

The first time I walked 10 steps unaided and without a stick [it] gave me the confidence that I might have a future doing many of the things I had previously enjoyed.
Callum, stroke survivor

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