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Stroke Survivor, Peter Blair, Shares His Top-Ten Tips For Stroke Survivors 7

In July of 2005, Peter Blair had a stroke. It changed him dramatically. He went from a fully functioning adult running his own business to an old and rather simple child. He was forced to retire from full time work and though he has recovered some ability, he still has learning difficulties, aphasia, hemianopia and memory problems.

While recovering he learned about some of the hidden social effects of stroke and how to deal with them, and it is that knowledge that he wants to share with other survivors, their families and care-givers.

Change Your Lifestyle

Like many people, lifestyle was a major factor in my having a stroke. I had a stressful job, worked long hours doing something I loved, ate and drank far too much, took little or no exercise and was seriously overweight.

Although it may seem incredible, as soon as I was able after my stroke, I went back to doing many of the things that had caused it. I now understand that this was an attempt to return to what I believed to be normality. Had I carried on I would have been well on my way to a second stroke, which I would probably not have survived. 

At some point I decided to diet and to cut down my drinking. Unaware of this, my tutors at Norham Adult Learning Centre mentioned that my mental performance had improved. It dawned on me then that my healthier lifestyle was responsible. It had been a source of frustration to me, a honours graduate, that I had severe learning difficulties. I could now see marked improvement in my learning.

My health regime is not fancy. It is based on well known principles. I eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and little red meat. I have reduced my salt consumption. I do not smoke and I  have reduced my alcohol intake to well below Government safe levels. I control my cholesterol and blood pressure with medication.

I take exercise. There is no question about the benefits of safe exercise for the stroke survivor. In the early stages of recovery I found Tai Chi the best for me. It combines exercise and meditation and can be done seated or  standing. In my case it also helped lower my blood pressure. To find out more about Tai Chi and locate a centre near you visit
Walking (in a group for safety purposes) is good exercise as is swimming. With GP referral many public pools offer 10 free sessions.  After 5 years I took up Zumba. This is exercising in a group to various forms of music. I enjoy it enormously and it has helped improve my coordination.  For more information about Zumba please follow this link.

As well as the health advantages all these activities provide social benefits by making one get out and meet other people.

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By: Peter Blair, Stroke Survivor since July 2005

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1 Fight the fear

2 Be determined
3 Don’t be afraid to ask for help

4 Get out and about

5 Embrace technology

6 Get organised
7 Change your lifestyle

8 Admit to your condition
9 Realise the importance of respite care

10 Deal with aphasia

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