Hemiplegia is a form of brain injury that can result in paralysis on one side of the body. In neurological rehabilitation, exercise is considered the cornerstone of recovery from stroke. One of the most common forms caused by trauma to the head or neck can be addressed through rehabilitation exercises. You will improve your power and functioning by working your muscles and enhancing coordination with physical therapy exercises.
1. Exercise Releases Brain-Protecting Chemicals
Exercise triggers the release of the brain-protecting chemical called endorphins. Endorphins make you feel happy and pain-free while helping you deal with the stress of being hemiplegic. Exercise also has the power to boost your levels of serotonin and dopamine, two essential neurotransmitters needed to combat depression.
Exercise can also relieve anxiety, helping you to get a good night’s sleep and cope with negative emotions. Exercise also releases neurotrophins, which are the chemicals that promote the growth of new neurons and synapses in the brain. Neurotrophins are needed to combat cognitive decline and the risk of developing dementia.
2. Exercise Builds Muscle and Strength
Exercising even while in a wheelchair can help you improve your strength and build the endurance necessary to move around more on your own. However, you might feel that the things you can do have been severely limited, but you can still challenge your muscles and build strength.
You can increase your upper-body strength by pushing yourself to hold items for longer periods or by trying to keep a grip on things such as a pen or a cup for a longer period. Or you can increase your endurance by holding your legs in place for a few minutes or pushing yourself to work with your legs for longer.
Exercising can also help you improve your posture, which can help you to reduce pain and decrease your risk of developing future complications. Exercising can be challenging in a wheelchair and may require creativity, but it is certainly possible. There are several ways to incorporate exercising while in a wheelchair, such as leg lifts, arm exercises, or using a special treadmill-type device.
3. Exercise Will Help You Regain Mobility
If you have been diagnosed with hemiplegia, you will most likely start your rehab process in a wheelchair. Although you may feel like you have been permanently relegated to a wheelchair, exercise can help you regain functional mobility when the time comes to transition out of it.
If you have been in a wheelchair for some time, you may have noticed that your leg muscles may have atrophied (weakened). This lack of muscle strength and endurance can lead to the need for a wheelchair ramp or stair lift in the future, as well as compression stockings, shoe inserts, or knee-high compression socks for poor leg circulation. Exercise can help you build up your leg muscles, which can help you avoid these items and regain your mobility.
4. Exercise Makes You Stronger and Quicker When You Do Get Up and Move
When you first start exercising, you may feel like you are pushing yourself to the limit. However, as you keep exercising, you will see that your strength builds up and that you can do more each time. This will give you confidence that even though you may be in a wheelchair now, you can still do things and will be able to be independent and move around on your own when the time comes.
Exercising can also help you to develop your gross motor skills. We use these physical skills daily, such as walking, running, and playing sports. These are also the skills most often impacted when someone has hemiplegia.
If you have been in a wheelchair for some time, you may have noticed that your gross motor skills have deteriorated. Exercising can help you regain these skills so that when the time comes to get out of the wheelchair, you will be able to do so quickly and easily.
5. Exercise Improves Balance
As you exercise, your muscles become stronger, which can help to improve your balance if you have hemiplegia on one side. There are many exercises that you can do to help improve your credit. You can try standing on one leg while you are sitting in a chair or while you are lying down. You can also try exercises focusing on your balance, such as yoga, tai chi, or even walking.
When you have hemiplegia, getting the proper amount of exercise is important. This will help you to maintain flexibility and mobility in your body, reduce pain, and feel more confident about getting out of a wheelchair and living your life fully.