Stroke Prevention Exercise Program (S-PEP) Exercise in Disguise

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.


S-PEP: Stroke Prevention Exercise ProgramSome people do not know you also can get your body in shape by spending time engaged in common types of play, errands, and chores that also increase your heart rate and breathing. Often these are things that you do each week and enjoy doing.


Activities like walking your dog and playing with kids can speed your heart rate and breathing. Chores like vacuuming your floors and mowing your lawn can get your body in shape if you work harder when doing them or do them for a longer length of time. Keep in mind these activities may not replace your normal workouts (walking, biking, swimming, etc.)


While there are too many activities to list, below are some thoughts for turning time spent doing play, errands, and chores into time spent preventing a new stroke.


Changes to Try
Play with kids
Engage children in fast chase games, ball games, or swimming pool games. Play a position that involves a lot of movement.
Go to the museum or park
Take fewer rests. Wear ankle weights.
Have a cookout
Be the grill master or server. Place the grill or serving table away from where your guests are sitting so you walk more steps.
Sing in a choir
Many choirs practice once a week for a few hours. This gives you a chance to stand for a longer length of time.
Go partner-dancing
Stay on the dance floor as much as possible. Go with a partner.
Changes to Try
Hike on a nature trail
Use two walking sticks for balance and to get your arms moving.
Play golf
For as long as you can, walk instead of using the golf cart. Start with nine holes and build up to 18.
Row or paddle a boat
Try to make the boat go faster than normal. If you are paddling a canoe, switch your paddle from one side to the other often.
Go to fitness classes
Try walking, biking or taking the bus instead of driving.
Yard and Farm Work
Changes to Try
Haul mulch or potting soil
Carry small amounts, and make many trips.
Mow the lawn
Use a push-mower instead of a riding mower.
Till or turn earth
With a broad stance, use a hand-tiller to work the soil briskly.
Changes to Try
Walk the dog
Walk briskly enough to make your dog walk quickly or trot.
Wash dishes
Wash some or all of your dishes by hand.
Fold laundry
Place the basket of laundry on the floor. Bend and straighten your trunk to pick up each item.
Vacuum or mop
With a broad stance, reach a bit further than you normally would to push and pull the vacuum cleaner or mop.
Rake leaves
Rake at a faster pace than normal.
Changes to Try
Run errands close to home
Walk briskly instead of driving.
Quick trip to grocery store
Ride your bike to the store and back. Carry items in a backpack.
Commute to work
Ride your bike to work. Carry a change of clothes in a backpack.
When you have to run errands with your car…
Park in the back of the parking lot and walk. If you ride the bus, leave earlier and walk to a stop farther down the line. Get off the bus several stops before your destination and walk.


Note: Your goal range of effort is 13-14 (somewhat hard) on the Borg Scale. Review Signs of Exercising Too Hard and Exercise Safeguards before all workouts.