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American Family Children's Hospital
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Stroke Prevention Exercise Program (S-PEP) Exercise Safeguards

The Comprehensive Stroke and Rehabilitation Services programs at UW Hospital and Clinics have partnered to create a special exercise program for people who have had strokes. The Stroke Prevention Exercise Program or "S-PEP" has been designed to give you safe and fun exercise options to help prevent new strokes.

 

The safeguards below were created by the S-PEP team to help you exercise safely and prevent injury and falls.

 

Man and woman on stationary bikesBalance and Coordination Problems

 

If you have problems with your balance or coordination, take these safeguards to prevent injury and falls:

  • Exercise with a partner
  • Exercise on level, even surfaces
  • Hold onto the treadmill or stair-stepper
  • Ride a stationary bike (instead of a bike outside)
  • Alert a lifeguard when in the water
  • Use a cane or walker (if advised by your therapist)
  • Do not use an elliptical machine
  • Wear a helmet when riding a moving bike

Strength Problems

 

If you have decreased strength, you may get tired faster while exercising. You also may start to use other muscles to make up for a weaker arm or leg. Take these safeguards to decrease your chances of moving in a way that could cause pain or injury:

  • Try shorter, more frequent workouts. Instead of a 30-minute brisk walk:
    • Take two 15-minute brisk walks
    • Take three 10-minute brisk walks
  • Switch workouts to use other muscle groups:
    • Start with walking 10 minutes
    • Switch to biking for 10 minutes
    • Switch to swimming for 10 minutes, etc.

Sensation and Body Awareness Problems

 

If you have problems with sensation or body awareness (knowing where your body and limbs are), take these safeguards to prevent injury and falls:

  • Exercise with a partner
  • Exercise on level, even surfaces
  • Exercise in a space that is well lit
  • Make sure you have enough space around you
  • Use a treadmill in front of a mirror to watch yourself exercise

Vision and Perception Problems

 

If you have problems with vision or perception, including neglect (being less aware of one side of your body or objects around you), take these safeguards to prevent injury and falls:

  • Exercise with a partner
  • Exercise on level, even surfaces
  • Exercise in a space that is well lit
  • Make sure you have enough space around you
  • Avoid crowded areas
  • Limit distractions during exercise (TV, etc.)
  • Stay in the center and hold onto the treadmill or stair-stepper
  • Ride a stationary bike (instead of a bike outside)
  • Alert a lifeguard when in the water
  • Wear glasses or eye patch as needed

Thinking and Speech Problems

 

If you have problems with thinking or speech, it may be hard for you to plan, recall parts of your workout, or let others know how you are doing. Take these safeguards while exercising:

  • Exercise with a partner
  • Limit distractions during exercise (TV, etc.)
  • Have a partner help you plan your workout
  • Use cue cards or the S-PEP Pocket Cards to remind you about the steps of your workout
  • Have a partner help you with your Weekly Workout Log (pdf) 
  • Find other ways to let people know your level of effort and how you are doing if you are not able to say what you mean:
    • Point to your effort rating on the Borg Scale
    • Write down your effort rating and anything your partner should know