Physical activity is extremely important after a stroke. It helps reduce the risk of having another stroke and enables you to improve your daily function. However, encouraging stroke patients to be more active can be difficult, especially when they are still in the hospital. That’s why researchers from Japan wanted to explore a way to get stroke patients moving more before they come home.
The research team looked at 70 subacute stroke patients. These are patients who recently had a stroke but are between the acute and chronic phases. Since one of the best ways to help motivate stroke patients is to measure their activity levels and give them feedback, the researchers decided to use an activity tracker called Active Style Pro. This small device counts the number of steps a person takes each day and calculates energy usage. The patients wore the trackers for 12 hours a day for an entire week securely positioned on the waist of the affected side. The researchers wanted to find if monitoring patients’ activity encouraged them to be more active.
3 clear benefits of using an activity tracker while in the hospital:
1. Gets patients moving more often
The tracker was smart enough to monitor data from three different activity categories: sitting, light activity, and moderate-to-vigorous activity. The device would report the time spent in each category. When patients have this information, they can set activity goals for the next day. Seeing this type of break-down of the day made patients aware of how they should change things, encouraging them to get up more often.
2. Gives patients a reliable way to measure
The results showed that these trackers were very reliable in measuring activity levels for patients who could walk on their own. But they were only moderately reliable if patients needed assistance walking. Since the device relies on steps that the patient takes, it makes sense that the measurement is better if the person is able to walk on their own. However, the researchers found that they could get a good representation of each patient’s physical activity by adjusting the number of days that they gathered data from. For a patient who can walk unassisted, 3 days of measurement gave an accurate picture, and for those who needed assistance, 5 days gave a better measurement.
3. Helps patients reach their activity goals
A reliable tracker is a great way to monitor how much physical activity someone is getting. The first step in optimizing recovery is seeing if a patient is active enough. Once the patient knows how much he moves, he can set goals to move more, ensuring that he exercises enough each day to see progress. This study showed that patients tried to meet their goals once they were more aware.
Tracking your own progress
Any reliable activity tracker can help you set goals and get more active. They are affordable, costing under 100 dollars, and are easy to use. Most smartphones have built-in activity trackers that are good enough to do the trick too. If you are having a hard time finding ways to move more, download our Strokemark app. Our walking course helps you set goals and track your progress.
The lead author of this study was Natsuki Shimzu from The Graduate School of Kyorin University in Mitaka, Japan.