Arm Exercises for Stroke Rehabilitation

For those living through stroke rehabilitation, it can feel especially overwhelming. There are therapy appointments, mobility training, medical check-ups — the list goes on. Luckily, one of the simplest forms of stroke rehabilitation is the daily practice of exercising. Exercises can be done at your own convenience and with comfortable regularity. The following will explore four simple arm exercises for stroke rehabilitation. 

1. Wrist Rotations

This exercise can be accomplished both sitting or standing, so adopt whichever stance is comfortable to you. To begin the stretch, extend your arm forward in a comfortable position. Your goal is to bring your arm perpendicular to your body, but don’t push past your range of motion. 

Once in position, rotate your wrist slowly. Make sure to rotate in both directions, exploring all areas available to you. Repeat this for a few breath cycles, for a minimum of three sets per day. 

2. Cane Stretch

True to its name, this exercise requires a cane. Begin either sitting or standing, with both hands placed on the cane. You will want to raise the affected arm into the air, while still holding onto the cane. If this is too strenuous, you can rest the cane on the tops of your thighs, or enlist the help of a home health aide.

Once the affected arm has been raised, hold this position for a few breath cycles. Repeat as necessary throughout the day.

3. Tabled Inner Arm 

To do this exercise, you will need a raised platform to place your hands on. This could be a table or bench — just be sure you can place your weight on it. To begin, you’ll want to place your hands on the raised platform. 

Your goal is to position your hands so that your fingers are facing your body. Once in the position, move your equilibrium backwards until you feel a stretch in your inner arm. Repeat for a few breath cycles. 

4. Bicep Curling

This exercise is like the tabled inner arm, in that it also requires a raised platform. You will want to have a seat in front of your table, with your elbow placed on the platform. Your goal is to have your forearm be parallel to the body, and perpendicular to the table.

Once in this position, curl your arm towards yourself and release it back to the table. Imagine you are holding a small weight, and lift this imaginary object for a few breath cycles.