Taking steps for stroke – how holding yourself accountable can improve your health!

June 28, 2018

Exercise is good for your health, and it’s especially true if you’ve suffered a stroke. Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for getting a stroke in the first place. It’s recommended to take at least 7000 steps a day to help prevent diseases such as stroke. Better yet, if you’re able to surpass this and take 10,000 steps a day, you can help lower your blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight.

It’s never too late to get active

Just increasing your physical activity from wherever you are now can provide its own health benefits. You can lower your risk for hospital admission and also improve your life expectancy. Getting more fit can help you live more independently too. All these benefits help you live a better quality life after suffering a stroke.

Turns out, holding yourself accountable can help the most. Japanese researchers reviewed half a dozen studies conducted all over the world. They found that self-monitoring significantly helped patients improve physical activity. On average, daily steps increased by over 2500 once people started to count. Many patients reached the recommended steps once they realized how inactive they really were.

Almost 700 participants overall were asked to measure their daily step count. These patients underwent interventions to maximize physical activity. These interventions would last anywhere from a month to a year and could range from internet-based resources, free pedometers, in-person workouts, text messages, and live counseling sessions with a physical therapist.

Not only were self-monitoring techniques effective, but so were internet-based methods. The internet helped with expanding targets of interventions, and also reduced the need for in-person contact.

So get tracking!

Self-monitoring can help you achieve better health by getting those steps in. It’s a great way to help prevent cardiovascular disease, and it’s really easy to do. All you need is a smartphone with an appropriate app or a simple pedometer. Many pedometer apps are free, and a simple pedometer costs only a few dollars at your local pharmacy. So there are no excuses, get tracking!

The lead author of this study is Yuki Kanejima, Department of Health Science, Kobe University in Kobe, Japan.

Editorial note:

Tracking steps helps many patients become more aware of their activity levels. It also motivates them to do more.

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