10) Who can support me?

Support from friends, family and organisations can be a real advantage when becoming more active. In some areas there are also fitness instructors in local leisure centres who are trained in supporting the fitness needs of someone who has had a stoke.

Andrew is a fitness instructor. He often works with people who have had a stroke. Play the video to find out more about his role and how fitness instructors like Andrew can support you in improving your fitness.

This was filmed with the kind permission of Edinburgh Leisure

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Q. Can you tell me about your role in working with people who had a stroke

A. Yeah, so I’ve been working as a stroke specialist help instructor within the multi-disciplinary team in the Royal Infirmary. As part of that role I work particularly closely with the physiotherapist who will assess and then recommend patients for me to work with on the stroke ward. I will then take them into the physio gym on the ward and would do a taster session of exercise and try to get people moving as quickly as possible post stroke. From there, I will arrange to meet the patients in their nearest venue, Edinburgh Leisure, in this case, and we will devise a program or progress them into exercise-after-stroke specific classes. Furthermore, I take an exercise after stroke class at Glenogle Swim Centre, which is every Monday afternoon.

Q. Did you need any specific training for this role?

A. I undertook REPs level four specialist training in Exercise and Fitness after Stroke. This course is frequently administered by Later Life Training throughout the country.

Q. What would your advice be to someone who wants to take up a fitness class or join a gym following a stroke?

A. First of all I would say it’s a great idea. There is evidence that exercise after stroke may improve levels of recovery, reduce levels of fatigue, help improve physical function and and provide a vast array of other health benefits. The first thing that I would recommend this you make an appoint with your local GP and from there they can refer you to your nearest leisure provider – Edinburgh Leisure in this case. From there the program coordinator or a development officer will call you to make an appointment your nearest venue and then you will go and meet your specialist instructor and they will guide you through the exercise pathway from there.

Something to think about

Does any of this advice sound useful? Have a look at the next page to see what is available in your area.