Being active is good for everyone. It’s an important way to improve balance and mobility and protect wellbeing, and it can reduce the risk of further strokes. It also boosts mental health and helps us feel more connected to other people.
Royal Navy veteran and keen golfer Phil Wilson, 65 from Stockport, enjoyed an active lifestyle until a stroke in 2016 left him paralysed down the left side of his body. Then he was diagnosed with a spinal tumour and prostate cancer.
“I used lots of repetitive exercises to help my recovery,” he says. “Like taking tins out of the cupboard and putting them back in to exercise my arm.”
Phil faced another cruel setback when Elaine, his wife and support for 41 years, passed away unexpectedly three years after his stroke. His children and grandchildren gave him invaluable support through the tough times.
“They wouldn’t allow me to focus on self-pity,” he says. “The family joke became who would walk and talk first – me, or my one-year-old granddaughter Olivia. She won.”
Physical activity doesn’t have to mean sweating it out at the gym, if that’s not your thing. Walking, gardening, carrying shopping and doing housework are all great ways to build more activity into your everyday routine.
What’s most important is finding a way of getting moving that works for you. “Being active gives you a positive frame of mind, which in turn helps you become more active – a virtuous circle for stroke survivors,” explains Phil.
Phil’s tips for staying active after stroke
- Listen to your body. If you feel tired, take a rest.
- Track your progress. You’ll be amazed how far you’ve come.
- Get your family involved. Make it a joint effort to be active and assist your recovery.
- You can do it. It may take you a while, but you will succeed.
Stroke News magazine
This article is featured in the winter 2021 edition of our magazine, Stroke News. Subscribe to our future editions available in print, on audio CD, or via email.