10 Stroke Rehabilitation Exercises

man in stroke rehab facility 

Exercise is a key component of stroke rehabilitation.  Not only does exercise help to keep a person fit and healthy, thereby reducing the risk of a second stroke, but it also aids in stroke recovery. Stroke rehabilitation exercises strengthen the signals between the brain and the body, resulting in restoration of function and coordination.  

It’s crucial to begin exercising early in the rehabilitation process in order have the best chance of repairing damage, regaining movement, and reinforcing the brain-body connection.  But because each person is affected differently by stroke, it’s important to work with stroke rehabilitation specialists who can determine which stroke rehab techniques will best meet your particular needs. To get an idea of some simple techniques that stroke rehabilitation specialists might use to help improve balance, coordination, and strength during post-stroke recovery, take a look below.  

10 Exercises for stroke rehabilitation

  • #1. Hip adduction/abduction - Lie on your back with your legs straight and flat on the ground. Slide one leg out to the side and then bring it back to center. 
  • #2. Knee extension – Sit in a chair with both legs bent and both feet on the ground. Slowly lift one foot until the leg is straight and then bring it back down slowly. This can be done standing as well, though be sure to hold onto a table or other surface so you can remain balanced while you slowly bend and kick one leg out. 
  • #3. Ankle rotation – Sit in a chair with both feet on the ground. Lift one foot off the floor just high enough to rotate the foot in a circle. Be sure to rotate in both directions. 
  • #4. Elbow stretch – Sit or stand with your arms at your sides. Slowly lift both forearms arms to bend your elbows and then slowly straighten them again. 
  • #5. Wrist rotation – Sit or stand. Lift one arm and rotate the hand slowly a circle.  Then rotate it in the other direction. 
  • #6. Shoulder stabilizer – Lie on your back with your arms at your sides. Raise one arm up to shoulder level so that your hand is pointing to the ceiling. Now lift your shoulder blade off the floor by reaching your hand to the ceiling. Hold and repeat. 
  • #7. Weight shift and balance control – Start on your hands and knees with your weight distributed evenly.  Rock slowly and shift your weight back toward your right leg, then forward to your left hand, over to your right hand, and back toward your left leg. 
  • #8. Hip and knee control – Lie down on your back with your knees bent and pointed to the ceiling. Slowly slide one heel away from your buttocks until the leg straightens. Then slowly slide the heel back toward the buttocks.  The heel should remain in contact with the ground throughout the exercise. 
  • #9. Hip and pelvis strengthener – Stand facing a table or countertop with both feet flat on the ground. Hold onto the table while you shift your weight to one side, keeping your knee straight.  Lift the opposite leg to the side while keeping a straight knee and maintaining a straight forward-facing posture. Slowly return to starting position, and then repeat on the other side. 
  • #10. Lower leg strength and coordination – Lie down on your side with bent knees stacked on top of each other. While keeping your feet together, lift the upper knee slowly. Hold for a couple of beats and the slowly lower it again. 

It’s important to note that the above exercises are meant as general examples only, not as a prescription for someone who has suffered from a stroke.  Please contact an educated professional who has been trained in stroke rehab techniques for a customized post-stroke treatment plan. 

Inpatient stroke rehabilitation in San Diego 

At Bella Vista Health Center in San Diego, our inpatient stroke rehabilitation specialists employ a combination of passive and active exercises, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and other proven therapies and techniques to help support each patient’s unique post-stroke recovery. If you are looking for a skilled nursing facility where you or a loved one can recover in a safe nurturing environment under the care of specialists trained in stroke recovery techniques, please call or drop by and see us in Lemon Grove today.