Mobility issues affect millions of Americans. Accidents and injuries account for some of those mobility issues. One of the leading causes, particularly among those over 65, is a stroke.
Strokes are likely more common than you think. Annually, there are close to 800,000 strokes in the US alone. The vast majority of strokes fall into the category of ischemic strokes. This kind of stroke reduces or cuts off blood flow to the brain, which often causes damage that affects mobility.
Following accidents or strokes that cause mobility issues, doctors will often recommend gait training exercises. Not familiar with gait training exercises? Keep reading for a quick overview of what they are and their benefits.
What Is Gait Training?
When you suffer an accident or stroke that affects your mobility, the way your body moves through open space changes. It also means that your body may not balance as well or that parts of your body don’t communicate the way they did before.
Gait training is a kind of physical therapy or injury rehabilitation. It generally focuses on areas like muscle strength improvement, balance, posture, and building new muscle memory. Common exercises include:
- Walking on treadmills
- Stepping over objects
- Heel raises
- Toe raises
You might do some of these exercises at home or do them at a physical therapy center, such as Performax. Now, let’s look at some of the benefits.
Reduces Odds of Falling
One of the most common risks after a change in mobility is that you’ll fall. Injuries from falls can range from bumps and bruises to broken bones and serious head injuries. By boosting your balance and teaching your body new muscle memories, gait training helps minimize the chances that you’ll trip, stumble, or fall.
One of the key factors in avoiding falls is overall stability. Instability in your gait often stems from muscle weakness in one part of your body.
For example, you expect your leg to move a certain distance. When it doesn’t, it throws you off and reduces stability.
Gait training will help identify and improve strength in those weak muscles, which should boost stability.
Gait training helps improve your confidence about moving around at home or outside. That confidence often translates into more activity at home and with friends outside the home.
More activity outside of the home helps boost cognitive activity. That and social activity support your overall sense of well-being.
Gait Training Exercises and You
After you experience an accident or stroke that diminishes your mobility, there is a good chance that gait training exercises are on the horizon.
While you can do many of these exercises at home, though, you should always check with your doctor before starting them. The doctor may want you to hold off to give your body more time to heal. They may also recommend waiting because you’ll need additional procedures first.
Looking for more tips on leading a healthy and more active lifestyle. Check out some of the posts over in our Health section.