Stroke Prevention Exercise Program (S-PEP) Frequently Asked Questions
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.
- Start slowly and set realistic goals
- Over time you will gain confidence and get in better shape
- Look at S-PEP's Lifestyle Change Steps for simple guidance to help you successfully start and stick with an exercise program
Some people who exercise did not like it when they first started.
- Once people begin to see the good results they get hooked
- People also learn ways to make exercising more fun
Here are some ways to make exercising more fun:
- Try many kinds of workouts and do those you enjoy
- Exercise with a friend, partner or in a group
- Exercise to music or while watching TV
- Look at S-PEP's Exercise in Disguise for bringing exercise into your daily life
What if I never have time for exercise?
Break your workouts into shorter segments that fit better into your day. Instead of one 30-minute brisk walk, take:
- A 15-minute brisk walk and a 15-minute bike ride later in the day
- A 10-minute brisk walk, a 10-minute bike ride to the pool, and 10 minutes of water walking while at the pool
- Any mix of workouts is fine
- Try a few times and days to find what works best for you
- Create a daily or weekly routine
- Work out at the same time each day
- Schedule your workouts on your calendar
- Sneak exercise into your daily life. Look at S-PEP's Exercise in Disguise for details.
What if I am too tired?
Your body is still recovering during the first few weeks after your stroke:
- It is common to be more tired during this time
- This fatigue often goes away after a few weeks
Your energy level changes during the day:
- Be aware of how your energy rises and falls on a normal day
- Exercise when you have the most energy
Over time, regular exercise can:
- Increase your energy level during the day
- Help you sleep better at night
- Decrease feelings of depression
What if I do not have access to a gym or equipment?
- Many workouts like walking can be done with little or no equipment
- You also may try a home workout and use household items to make your workout harder (see S-PEP's Home Workout)
- You may try a home workout with an exercise video (see S-PEP's Exercise Videos)
- Keep in mind that you can also get exercise from the things you already do each day (see S-PEP's Exercise in Disguise)
Is it safe? Will I have another stroke?
- Your doctor will tell you if it is safe to begin or resume a moderate effort exercise program
- Regular exercise can decrease your risk factors for stroke and heart attack, including obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- Over time, regular exercise may decrease your chances of having another stroke or heart attack
- The normal feelings of your heart rate and breathing speeding up during a workout can cause unease if you are not used to them, but these feelings are normal and should not cause concern
- Start with realistic goals and follow S-PEP's Exercise Guidelines when progressing your exercise
Will I fall?
- Falls after stroke are not very common when people are careful
- Follow S-PEP's Exercise Safeguards to prevent injury and falls
- If you take the right safeguards, exercising is one of the best things you can do for your health after a stroke
- Exercise can also help prevent falls by improving your balance
- Always wear a helmet when riding a bike