Research Studies,  Stroke Resources

5 Types of Mental Exercises to try After a Stroke

Mental Exercises for Stroke Survivors

Mental exercises are activities that challenge and stimulate the brain, helping to re-learn or strengthen skills that may have been impacted by a stroke. These exercises are designed to improve cognitive function, such as memory, attention, language, problem-solving, and visual-spatial skills.

After a stroke, the brain may need to re-learn or strengthen certain skills, and mental exercises can help with this process. Mental exercises can be used in conjunction with other therapies, such as physical therapy and speech therapy, to help promote recovery and improve quality of life.

Here are some examples of mental exercises for stroke recovery:


Memory Exercises

Memory exercises can help improve short-term memory, which may be affected by stroke. A simple exercise is to try to memorize a list of items or numbers and recall them later. Another exercise is to study a picture for a few minutes, then try to recall as many details as possible.


Language Exercises

Language exercises can help improve communication skills, which may be affected by stroke. A person may practice speaking simple sentences or reading short passages. Writing exercises, such as writing letters or journal entries, can also help improve writing skills.


Attention Exercises

Attention exercises can help improve concentration and focus, which may be affected by stroke. A person may do puzzles, such as crosswords or Sudoku, or practice reading for longer periods of time. Another exercise is to practice listening to someone speak and recalling the details of the conversation.


Problem-Solving Exercises

Problem-solving exercises can help improve cognitive flexibility and problem-solving ability, which may be impacted by stroke. A person may do puzzles, such as Sudoku or logic puzzles, or practice math problems.


Virtual Reality Exercises

Virtual reality exercises can help simulate real-life situations and help improve balance and coordination, which may be affected by stroke. A person may practice walking on a virtual reality treadmill or playing games that require balance and coordination.

It is important to note that mental exercises should be tailored to the individual’s needs and abilities. A stroke survivor may work with a rehabilitation specialist or therapist to develop a customized plan for mental exercises. It is also important to continue practicing mental exercises and other therapies even after leaving formal rehabilitation. Regular practice can help maintain gains and prevent further decline.

In conclusion, mental exercises are an important part of stroke recovery that can help improve cognitive function and promote overall wellness. With the right approach, stroke survivors can regain independence and improve their quality of life.

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Sources:  Guidelines for adult stroke rehabilitation and recovery: a guideline for healthcare professionals