Arm exercises can improve the Leg movements in Stroke patients, Research says

When the brain doesn’t receive enough amount of blood or the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, the cranial cells are deprived of the nourishment. They don’t receive enough oxygen and nutrients and resultantly die. This condition is known as a stroke.

A stroke may lead to short-term or permanent disabilities. The extent of damage depends upon the fact that for how long had the cells been lacking blood flow and especially which part of the brain is affected. Paralysis or loss of muscle movement, having a hard time talking or swallowing, memory loss or difficulty in thinking, making judgments, reasoning, and understanding concepts, emotional problems, pain, and changes in behavior and self-care ability are the possible outcomes of the condition.

A recent study from the University of Victoria, Canada had reported that stroke victims can improve their disabilities in certain ways. The researchers have revealed that training exercises for arms can help the stroke patients to enhance the healthy movements of their legs.

The respective study was published in the Journal of Neurophysiology. It looked at the effects of pectoral (arms) exercises on the functioning of the pelvic (legs) muscles among people who suffered from a stroke.

The researchers recruited 19 people who had a stroke between seven months and 17 years before the study. The study continued for about five weeks. The participants were subjected to a moderate, 30-minute arm cycling training sessions. The investigators noted the physical abilities of the subjects before and after the training sessions employing several standards.

The participants were asked to carry out the following physical exercises,

  1. A Six Minute Walk
  2. A Timed 10-Meter Walk
  3. A Timed Up and Go

These exercises assessed that how far a person can walk in six minutes, how fast a person can walk 10 meters, and what time it takes for a person to stand up from a seated position, walk 10 feet, turn around, walk back, and sit down again respectively. In addition, the electrical activity in the muscles and stretch reflexes in the lower legs and wrists during the exercises were also analyzed.

After the training sessions, the participants exhibited a great performance in almost all of the walking tests. In the case of the timed up and go test, the participants improved about 28%. The researchers further revealed that the participants experienced less tightness in their muscles, their nerve activity increased during arm cycling. As a result, the function of the spinal cord in other parts of the body, such as the legs was seen improving.

The authors also added that although improvements in walking may not be as healthy as those from other training modalities, they do emphasize the vital role that training the arms can have on restoring the human locomotion.

Stroke, being a medical injury, can result into serious incapabilities thus it requires an immediate treatment. People should be aware of the signs and symptoms of the stroke which include,

  • A difficulty with speaking, understanding, and walking
  • Paralysis or numbness of the face, arms, or legs
  • A difficulty with seeing in one or both eyes
  • Severe headache

Stroke patients can restore their normal and independent lives employing some simple rehabilitating efforts. With good care, there is a life after stroke. People need to learn new skills or relearn the old ones. They should adapt to new limitations and post-stroke conditions. They should seek new social, emotional, and practical support to prevent things from going worse.




Bo Walkden

Bo Walkden graduated from the University of Tennessee with a major in biology and a minor in Sociology. Bo grew up in Nashville but moved to Memphis for college. Bo has written for several major publications including the Knoxville News Sentinel and NPR. Bo is a community reporter and also covers stories important to all Americans. Contact Email: bo@tophealthjournal.com. Phone: 720.213.5824

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