Is bilateral training part of your stroke rehabilitation regimen?
It should be.
Studies show that bilateral training, especially with cycling, can help you improve mobility after stroke.
It can help improve both upper and lower extremity movement and help with balance.
Sounds promising, right?
Let’s dig into the science.
Bilateral Training for Stroke Recovery
Bilateral training simply involves any exercise that works both your affected and non-affected side at the same time.
For example, walking is a form of bilateral training because it uses both legs. Another example is doing bicep curls with both arms.
These examples of bilateral training are very simple, so what’s the big deal?
Well, bilateral training is particularly useful for stroke patients who have difficulty with larger bilateral movements.
For example, someone who has difficulty with walking can benefit from smaller types of bilateral training, like cycling.
Cycling Is Great Bilateral Training
Many studies are showing that cycling has a positive impact on gait (your manner of walking) and balance.
This is because massed practice is the best method for motor recovery after stroke.
By performing lots of repetitive motions with your legs through cycling, it helps rewire the brain and improve mobility.
This is great news for someone who doesn’t feel confident walking and wants a safe way to improve leg function.
Also, cycling is not just limited to lower extremities. You can also give your arms a workout with an ergometer (a cycle for your arms).
There are also many studies showing that exercise with an arm ergometer helps improve arm movement after stroke.
How Cycling Can Help You Recover
As both your affected and non-affected limbs move together, it sends signals to the brain.
The rhythmic, repetitive motion of cycling helps activate neuroplasticity and rewire the brain to improve your mobility.
Doing high reps of any exercise helps your brain get better at that particular movement.
Hope for Post-Stroke Paralysis
If you struggle with post-stroke paralysis, then cycling becomes an even more attractive treatment.
When you’re cycling, it gives your non-affected leg the chance to “assist” the affected leg.
This is considered “passive exercise,” which is great for recovering from hemiplegia, paralysis on the affected side.
As you get your affected side moving, it gives your brain the opportunity to “wake up” and reconnect to your affected side again.
Bilateral Training Rehab Exercise
There are other ways to get bilateral training. You don’t need a cycle. Any stroke rehabilitation exercise that works both sides of the body will help.
Many of the exercises included in our FitMi home therapy system are bilateral exercises, which is one reason why our users see fast results.
Working your body sends signals to your brain, which facilitates healing.
This doesn’t mean that bilateral training is better than unilateral training (only exercising one side of the body, usually the affected side).
We recommend that you do both.
Start Bilateral Training for Stroke Recovery!
Overall, bilateral training is a great way to improve movement in your full-body.
You can use arm cycling to improve movement in your arm and wrists, and you can use stationary cycles to improve your leg function and balance.
Cycling is a great form of bilateral training because it helps you achieve lots of repetition, and it’s very therapeutic to the brain and body.
How will you get your bilateral training in?