Reducing Risk of Stroke through Exercise

Stroke is a preventable disease. Lifestyle choices, like increased exercise, can reduce your risk of stroke. Our experts recommend an exercise routine to help you stay healthy.

May. 13, 2022 4   min read

exercise stroke

A variety of health factors can impact stroke risk, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Some lifestyle choices can help reduce the likelihood of developing health conditions that lead to an increased risk of stroke.

One of the main ways to stay healthy and reduce risk of stroke is through routine exercise.

Maribeth Gee, a Physical Therapist at Unity Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, provides a week-long workout routine that, when followed, can increase your activity level to help reduce risk of stroke and improve your health.

Exercise routine to reduce stroke risk

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

Setting a goal to complete these exercises can help to decrease your risk for stroke and cardiovascular disease.

“If any of these exercises cause any significant pain or discomfort, discontinue the exercise and follow up with your healthcare provider or physical therapist for further recommendations,” Gee said.

Monday (aerobics)

Walk for 15 minutes twice throughout the day.

Tuesday (leg strengthening)

Perform the following exercises for 12-15 reps. Perform 3 sets.

  • Standing marches
  • Standing hip abductions
  • Standing knee flexion
  • Sit to stands

Wednesday (arm strengthening)

Perform the following exercises for 12-15 repetitions. Perform 3 sets.

  • Bicep Curls
  • Lateral pull-downs
  • Forward shoulder raise (to 90 degrees)
  • Lateral shoulder raise
  • Shoulder rows

Thursdays (balance)

Try to challenge yourself today! Perform each exercise for 6 repetitions. Do these exercises next to a counter or sturdy surface and use as needed to ensure your safety.

  • Standing with feet together (Try to hold for 30 seconds)
  • Standing on one leg (lightly hold onto the sturdy surface as needed)
  • Stand with your feet together. Do 10 head turns looking left to right.
  • Stand with your feet together. Do 10 head turns looking up and down.
  • Walk sideways along the length of the table
  • Walk backwards along the length of the table

Friday (flexibility and walking)

Complete the following exercises holding for 30 seconds each. You should feel a mild discomfort indicating a stretch sensation. Repeat each exercise 3 times.

  • Go for one 20-minute walk.
  • Hamstring stretch: Seated on a chair, place your leg up on the surface you are sitting on, and hold 30 seconds until a stretch is felt in the back of your leg.
  • Lunge calf stretch: Stand in a lunge position with your feet pointed towards the wall, lean forward with your foot pointed towards the wall until a stretch is felt in your calf.
  • Trunk rotation: Seated in a chair, twist your body and grab one side of the chair until a stretch is felt in the mid/low back.
  • Posture at a wall: Stand with your back against the wall and walk your heels to the wall so your feet are touching. Try to stand up tall and have your head against the wall.
  • Pectoral stretch: Place your hand and elbow at the doorway at 90 degrees. Walk forward so your arm goes behind you until a stretch is felt at your chest.
NEXT STEPS Rochester Regional Health Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

If you or someone you love have suffered a stroke and are unsure about where to start on the recovery journey, our expert physiatrists can help. Our Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation care is designed to meet your unique needs and help you successfully transition back to the highest level of function possible.

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