Stroke Prevention Exercise Program (S-PEP) Lifestyle Change Steps

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 steps below were created by the S-PEP team to help you successfully start and stick with an exercise program.


Woman playing softballStep 1: Come up with a reason to want to exercise.

  • To prevent a stroke or heart attack
  • To increase energy
  • To decrease depression
  • To have a more active lifestyle

Step 2: Make a commitment to begin exercising.


Step 3: Ask your friends and family for their support. Or, ask them to exercise with you.


Step 4: Spot hurdles that might get in the way of exercising. Look at S-PEP's Frequently Asked Questions for answers to common questions about common hurdles.


Step 5: Make a plan and write it down. Look at S-PEP's Exercise Guidelines for help with making a plan.

  • When will I start?
  • What type of workout will I do?
  • What equipment do I need to get started?
  • What safeguards will I take?
  • How often will I exercise?
  • For how long?
  • How will I progress my exercise?

Step 6: Accept that starting to exercise and sticking with it can be hard work.


Step 7: Set a realistic goal and reach it. This is the key to success and building confidence.


Step 8: When you reach your goal, set another realistic goal and reach it too. Repeat these steps over and over.


Step 9: If you have a hard time reaching a goal one week, rethink it. Was the goal too much or too bold? Set a new realistic goal and try again.


Step 10: Reward yourself for reaching your goals.


Step 11: Look at your Weekly Workout Log to review progress you have made.


Step 12: Be aware of your mood. Feelings like depression can make it hard to start or stick with an exercise program. Talk to your doctor if you think you are feeling depressed.