We recently discussed our foolproof formula for recovery:
However, we never addressed the importance of challenge, which is another important factor of stroke recovery. So if you add it to that formula, it would look like this:
Stroke recovery = neuroplasticity + repetition + consistency + challenge
But we feel like the word challenge can be pretty vague. So today we’re going to clarify exactly what healthy challenge feels like during stroke recovery.
Skills vs. Task Difficulty
In order to maximize your improvement during stroke rehabilitation, you want to strike a fine balance between skill and challenge.
Choose a task that you have enough skill to accomplish – yet you still find it challenging.
Challenge is essential during recovery because it helps stimulate your brain and initiate neuroplasticity, the first variable in our stroke recovery formula.
However, if a task is too challenging, you may not have the skill to accomplish it. Not only is this discouraging, but it will prevent your brain from having the opportunity to rewire itself.
It’s all about finding the perfect balance for you.
Challenge Looks Different for Everyone
Because every stroke is different, the right level of challenge will look different for everyone. So pay no attention to what your neighbor is doing.
Also, the level of challenge that you need will increase as you continue to improve. So it’s essential to constantly seek a higher level of challenge as you progress through your recovery.
For example, while therapy putty exercises might have helped your hands improve a lot during the early stages of recovery, it might not be challenging enough in the later stages; at which point you would need to step up your game.
Choose Better Therapy Options
During recovery, you will continue to improve as long as you’re incorporating high repetition and consistency into your regimen.
This means that as one form of therapy starts to feel easy, it’s important to move onto something more challenging.
So always try to choose forms of therapy that have various levels of difficulty to choose from. Because once you master one level, you can immediately progress to the next.
It will also help you save money because you won’t have to buy multiple therapy devices.
Always remember to keep yourself challenged during recovery. This will maximize your progress because challenge helps stimulate neuroplasticity.
Don’t challenge yourself too much though, as it can undermine all your effort. Balance is key.
And now you have the complete formula for a successful recovery!
Stroke recovery = neuroplasticity + repetition + consistency + a good, healthy challenge