Being able to walk is something that many of us take for granted, but losing that ability or the confidence to do so, can make us realize how precious it is to our quality of life. However, if you lost this ability due to a stroke, getting back to normal is not an easy task. It is very hard work and can seem daunting. It’s common after a stroke to think that something is impossible to do. Or sometimes, we even fear trying something that we haven’t tried again since the stroke.
Research shows that we often perceive certain tasks as very difficult when in reality they are not that hard. Take walking for example. After a stroke, we all want to regain our capabilities. We want to increase our speed and distance. However, we often perceive walking as difficult and dangerous. Because our leg functions and balance are totally different after a stroke, we don’t trust our skills anymore, and we get anxious.
The result is that we walk slowly and very carefully. We take smaller steps or widen our steps. These things, however, do not necessarily benefit our recovery. In fact, they can actually hamper improvements. Research shows that most people can move much better than they think! You are not alone with this problem by the way. Almost all patients with movement problems like low back pain, Parkinson’s Disease, or hip replacement are anxious about moving too much.
We’re not really sure what causes this insecurity, but we do know that you can change it!
Trust your therapist to guide and assist you. You don’t have to be afraid. Studies show that after a successful rehab program, stress responses related to walking decrease. So why not decrease the stress during rehab in order to speed up your recovery?
In our relaxation challenge, you learn how to decrease your stress and improve your recovery. One way of calming down is by exercising breathing techniques. Another approach that we discuss here is to change your perception of things. So combine both. Learn how to relax and give your confidence a boost. Your body can do more than you think it can.
Practicing relaxation techniques can actually help us gain confidence and control during our recovery.