Wednesday 23 Jul 2014

Information and opinions presented here do not always represent the views of the American Heart Association.

SimpleScience@Heart: Walking trumps massage for improving life after stroke

Published: 3:00 pm CDT, March 7, 2013

Stroke survivors should consider a regular stroll around their neighborhood instead of routine trips to a masseuse.

A new study shows that stroke survivors who walked three times a week were better off than those who got therapeutic massages. The walkers reported a better quality of life related to their health, had a lower resting heart rate and were able to walk farther.

Experts say walking is a great way to get active after a stroke because it’s familiar, inexpensive, and easy to do. However, many survivors are afraid of falling when they walk – not just when they exercise, but doing typical activities like being with family and friends. For the study, stroke survivors walked with others until they felt more comfortable walking alone.

The American Heart Association recommends that stroke survivors get 20 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise three to seven days a week, depending on fitness level. For others, the association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or some combination of both).

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