It’s time to pick up the pace – you can walk faster than you think!

October 16, 2018

It’s funny, but we are our own worst critics. It’s easy for us to cheer on our kids or comfort a friend. But when it comes to believing in our own potential, we sometimes come up short. It’s hard to support ourselves, so we are here to cheer you on. You can do more!

Stroke rehab is no small feat. Therapy can be intense, and you’re upset that your body can’t do the things it used to do. Intense training for hours every day can take a toll on our self-confidence. It’s exhausting too. But when our recovery depends so much on how well we do in rehab, there’s a lot at stake.

You can do more than you think

We need to believe in ourselves because we can do more. The research says it all. A recent study showed that high-intensity interval training is safe and effective for stroke rehab. That means most of us can push ourselves more than we typically do. This type of training program calls for short bursts of high-intensity exercise that is broken up by frequent rest breaks. That way, you can catch your breath after working yourself as hard as you can.

Studies show that stroke patients can walk faster during high-intensity interval training

The study followed 23 stroke patients to see what a single session of high-intensity therapy could do for them. It was a small study, and just one time, but even so there were dramatic results. The researchers found that 15 of these people were able to achieve walking speeds on the treadmill that were 150% over their natural pace. Knowing that the intervals were short, patients were able to their push themselves to their potential.

A faster pace was still safe and effective for stroke patients

Each session was only 20 minutes. Patients alternated each minute between high-intensity walking and a 1-minute break at half the patient’s normal walking pace. Everyone completed the training safely without injury. No one developed any concerning heart issue or elevated blood pressure. Even though they used a safety harness just in case, nobody came close to accidentally falling.

Time to pick up the pace!

We have to push ourselves. The more you’re able to do in recovery, the better your outcomes overall. This study proves that engaging in strenuous exercise is safe, effective, and good for overall health. Better functional status correlates with more independence and a higher quality of life. Studies show that high-intensity training is more fun and less time-consuming, but more research is needed before we understand how faster walking might help us with stroke recovery. What we do know now is that we can walk faster than we think!

We want to get as much of our life back, right? So go and get it! This research shows us that we are capable of more than what’s normally asked of us. Let’s not sell ourselves short here. Talk to your therapist about high-intensity interval training. We may be looking at a speedier way to a better recovery!

The lead author of this study was Stacey E. Aaron from the Department of Health Sciences and Research at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina.

Editorial note:

Researchers have discovered that patients can increase their walking speed dramatically when they participate in high-intensity interval training. Patients who push themselves for short bursts of time are surpassing expectations.

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