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Recovering from a stroke might feel like an uphill battle, especially if you’re suffering from a lot of long-lasting effects. Your doctor has probably prescribed a list of foods that’ll boost your brain health. You’re probably even considering a number of lifestyle changes that will help prevent other strokes in the future.
One of the best things you can do to help aid in your recovery is brain exercises. Certain exercises can help improve cognitive function and retrain your brain to work as it used to. Which exercises work the best, though?
Read on to find out!
You might not be someone who has always enjoyed reading. Regardless, there’s no better time than the present to dive into the world of literature.
Strokes can cause people to become dyslexic. You might find it more difficult to follow instructions or read messages from friends and loved ones. Thankfully, for many people, you can rebuild your ability to read, even if you’ve become dyslexic.
Start with some simple reading material. Try sounding out words, letter by letter. As you get more comfortable, you’ll find yourself reading and understanding more and more material.
If you’re struggling with your reading skills, you can reach out to your primary medical care provider to help arrange for more intensive therapy.
If you want to continue to build upon the skills you’re learning when you’re reading, then you can try your hand at writing. Many stroke survivors experience agraphia or weakness in their dominant hand that makes writing difficult.
Journaling is a fantastic way for you to redevelop dexterity in your dominant hand. Over time, you’ll find yourself getting stronger and better able to write. Finally, journaling can help you recover emotionally from your stroke and process your feelings about your life post-stroke.
It might sound surprising, but meditation is actually an effective method for helping your brain heal after a stroke.
In fact, meditating for 10-20 minutes per day can help you speed up your recovery progress. On top of that, it can help reduce feelings of depression and fatigue. It can also sharpen your attention and cognitive abilities, as well as keep your emotions stable.
Curious how to get started?
There are a number of ways you can meditate, and all of them are beneficial. Start with some short grounding exercises, and then progress to longer, more focused meditation sessions. You can meditate on your own, or use a guided meditation, all will help you.
4. Card Matching
If you’re having issues with recall or scanning, then you can try your hand at a card matching memory game.
Take 10 to 15 cards and place them face down on a desk or table. Begin turning over cards two at a time and look for matching pairs. If you uncover a matching pair, turn them back over and try to remember where they are.
If you don’t have cards in your home, there are a number of free card matching games available online that you can play.
5. Arrange Sentences Alphabetically
Analytical reasoning is a skill that many stroke patients find themselves struggling with during their recovery. Analytical reasoning is essentially your ability to look at certain information and find patterns within that information.
One simple strategy to strengthen your analytical reasoning skills is to take a sentence from a book or magazine and write it down on a piece of paper. Then, you’ll rearrange the sentence to place the words in alphabetical order. Start with smaller sentences and work your way up to longer, more complex sentences.
You can also arrange the words in the sentence by the number of letters in each word. For example, the phrase “here I am” would be rewritten as “I am here.” Try going short to long and long to short.
6. Board Games
If you’re looking for ways to strengthen your brain while spending time with friends and loved ones, then you should give board games a shot.
Many board games contain elements that require the ability to scan, organize, and split your attention. Try playing checkers or Connect Four. If you’re on your own, you can also give a computerized version of Mahjong a shot to boost your ability to scan and match items.
If you’ve never played sudoku, then you’ll be surprised to learn how satisfying and challenging this numbers game can be.
Sudoku is a set of 9 squares in a 3 x 3 pattern. Each square has the numbers 1 through 9, as does each vertical and horizontal line. Here, you’ll look at the puzzle and try to determine where to place the numbers in order to solve the overall puzzle. Puzzles can be very simple or very difficult, depending on your level of experience.
Sudoku can help improve your quantitative ability while being a lot of fun, too!
Music can be therapeutic and beneficial for many people, but it is especially helpful for stroke survivors.
Singing along to songs or learning to play an instrument can help you improve your brain function in a number of different ways, including strengthening your motor skills. Even if you aren’t able to speak or play, the act of listening to music can help heal your brain. In fact, people who listened to music on a daily basis showed better outcomes as compared to those who did not according to a study from the University of Helsinki.
There’s never been a better reason to put on your favorite tunes and enjoy them!
Loved These Brain Exercises?
There are a wide variety of brain exercises that can help your brain recover from a stroke. It’s good to keep in mind that, like physical fitness, it takes time for your brain to rebuild. Be patient with yourself, and never give up on trying to heal from your stroke.
Recovering from a stroke can give you a new lease on life, and you’re probably looking for fun and exciting ways to shake things up. Check out the rest of our blog for tons of content that’ll keep you inspired!