Being active after stroke can be as simple as building movement into your day-to-day activities at home to help improve your physical and mental health.

Maria Knight, 53, had an active job as a healthcare assistant before she had a severe bleed on the brain that caused left-sided weakness in her leg, arm and hand. She has drop foot and needs to wear a splint on her left leg.

Image of Maria Knight smiling.
Stroke survivor, Maria

At first Maria relied on a zimmer frame but has slowly built up her strength and now uses a quad stick – a walking cane with four small feet for stability. One of her first milestones was managing to walk the path from her front door to the road.

“I was frightened of doing it, but the rehab team were brilliant. They taught me breathing exercises to calm my nerves and relax me. It took me ten minutes to walk to the car and back, but I did it and it was exhilarating.

“I decided that my stroke is not going to define me. It’s a new chapter in my life and with determination and exercise I can get through this.”

Maria now keeps active at home however she can. “I do exercises on the bottom step of my staircase – 100 steps up to heaven and down to hell, with breaks in between! And I walk with my quad stick whenever I can, especially in the garden.

“Being active has been paramount to my physical and mental health. Moving independently and not have to rely on my husband helps me feel like I'm slowly getting back to me. It's ongoing and can be a struggle, especially if I'm ill. But when I'm well, I want to move as much as possible.”

Recently, Maria took part in ‘We Are Undefeatable Freedom to Move Challenge’ hosted on the Royal Voluntary Service’s Virtual Village Hall, which aimed to encourage people to build activity into their daily lives.

The Virtual Village Hall is an online activity hub to help people stay physically and mentally active. From crafts to Zumba, singing to meditation, there are more than 900 sessions available to view online.

“I joined a few of the exercise sessions and found them challenging but helpful, especially the stretching exercises,” says Maria. “It gave me the chance to do activities I’d not tried before at home with no judgement. It was well worth doing and very motivating.”

Try something new

We are part of ‘We Are Undefeatable’, who support people with long-term health conditions to get active. They have lots of resources, suitable for all levels of mobility, to help you stay active at home this winter.

Visit We Are Undefeatable's website to find out more and have a go.

Visit the Royal Voluntary Service's website to watch past Virtual Village Hall sessions and to sign up to future live classes.

Stroke News magazine

This article is featured in the winter 2023 edition of our magazine, Stroke News. Subscribe to our future editions available in print, on audio CD, or via email.