Getting active when recovering from a stroke can be challenging - how you feel can change from day to day. But, even small amounts of activity can help you to regain mobility, enjoy the little things in life and improve your mental health wellbeing.
Ann Kinnish had a stroke in 2021, when she was 49. 'My symptoms came on gradually over a few days,' says Ann. 'I felt nauseous, dizzy and I had problems with my vision. I called the GP who told me to go straight to A&E.
'I lost the use of my left side, had balance and vision problems, and extreme fatigue. I also lost my appetite and my hearing became really sensitive.
"Before my stroke, I was mega busy. I did a full time job and lots of volunteering. I was also a runner. Losing all of that in an instant was very hard.'
'I was having physio every few weeks, but I wanted something to plug the gaps. The exercise video were split into different ability levels, so I was able to find the level that suited my physical capability.
'I couldn't lift my arm very well and found the arm strength exercises challenging, but I did what I could. If I only did five, next time I'd try six. It's important to keep going - some days I felt like I hadn't progressed for ages and then suddenly I'd make a leap forward. Now I have full use of my arm back.
'The videos also helped my mental health as they pushed me to do other things to get my life back a bit quicker. I've slowly introduced more activity into my day, like housework, walking in my garden or using my exercise peddler. But I also try to take an hour every day to sit and do nothing to help with the fatigue.
'I also found writing poetry therapeutic. It helped me when I was struggling to find the right words or if I was trying to explain how I felt to family and friends. And jigsaw puzzles were a life saver!
'I know that I am a long way off running again, but I still have hope that one day, I will be able to. I can see that 5K run in the distance.'
Give it a go
We're part of the 'We Are Undefeatable' campaign to inspire people with long-term health conditions to find ways to be active that work for them. For ideas and inspiration, visit weareundefeatable.co.uk.
Go to My Stroke Guide to try our latest exercise programme.
Stroke News magazine
This article is featured in the winter 2022 edition of our magazine, Stroke News. Subscribe to our future editions available in print, on audio CD, or via email.