Balance problems are common after stroke, which is why many survivors find themselves unable to sit up or stand safely. They may feel dizzy or unsteady and lose the confidence of walking, moving around and performing certain daily tasks independently. Hence, stroke rehab often includes balance exercises. While certain exercise routines take care of rigidity and muscle stiffness, balance exercises generally cater to stroke survivors who intend to prevent falls and improve balance.
Performing below mentioned exercises on a daily basis can bring about a change and can turn out to be effective in stroke rehab. These exercises are easy and safe as they are performed in the seated position. As a general precaution, consult your doctor before starting out.
1. Side Shift (Weight Shifting)
To start with the exercise, sit either at the edge of the bed or on a bench. Keep your arms at your sides and then shift weight first over your right hip and then the left hip.
Ensure that your rib cage is moving side to side and you are not bending at the waist. You can place the book under the hands to bear through arms. This will also help you avoid hands coming up off the surface. Repeat the movement 10-15 times.
2. Forward and Back Shift
Sit on a bench and shift your weight first forward and then back. You can do so by rounding your lower back. Repeat the movement 10-15 times as it will help you correct your balance and posture instability.
3. Elbow Lean
Sit either on a bed or bench in the upright position. Keep your feet flat on the floor. Once you are comfortable, start leaning to the right putting your weight on your right elbow. Your forearm should be on the bench supporting the weight. Repeat this 10 times.
4. Sit to Stand (Clasped Hands)
First, clasp hand together then start reaching forward coming to a full stand. If you are unable to do a full stand, the partial stand would also work. Once you are on a full stand, start returning to a sitting position. Repeat this 5-10 times.
Things to remember
When attempting to regain balance after stroke, most people mistakenly focus on their legs as the primary problem. No doubt, foot drop exercises for stroke survivors are an excellent way to regain mobility in the foot. But, if balance issues are the result of any of the – loss of sensation on one side of the body, Hemiplegia/Hemiparesis, impaired core strength or impaired vision – an individualized stroke rehabilitation program is recommended to address a specific root-cause.