After A Stroke: Play Chess For Brain Therapy

Chess Brain


It is quite common to struggle with “Brain Fog” or “Stroke Brain” after a stroke.

I feel it every single day. I read daily and play crossword puzzles, but I still have that numb, deer-in-headlights sensation. It feels like I just took a serious pummeling with a heavy feather pillow – and a major league baseball player was holding the pillow. I am not in any pain, but my brain feels like it’s wrapped in heavy cotton. So how do you exercise your brain after a stroke? You give it a challenge. My personal favorite is chess.


Rolyan Pronation & Supination Wheel

Pronation & Supination Wheel

Rolyan Pronation & Supination Wheel, 2 Pound Weighted Wheel Training Device for Motor Control and Mobility, Hand & Arm Trainer for Forearm and Shoulder Surgery Recovery & Rehabilitation, $77.56 from Amazon:

Su·pi·nate: so͞opəˌnāt, verb, to turn or hold (a hand, foot, or limb) so that the palm or sole is facing upward or outward.

This device is helpful in my efforts to restore the ability to turn my palm upwards. Something that is quite useful when doing things like turning doorknobs or reaching for a coffee cup. Since my stroke left me paralyzed from the shoulder down, none of the muscles that perform this activity are functioning. (more…)

When it comes to self-directed physical therapy, I have one rule: Consult with a pro every time before trying a new exercise that I haven’t done before. Why? Because nothing will delay your recovery more than an injury. This rule is something I adopted after I blew out my shoulder thinking I knew what I was doing. I didn’t, and spent 6 months in agony, and couldn’t do my exercises.

This site is by 25-year veteran physiotherapist Susan Ehler. She’s got a bunch of videos on individual exercises and stroke tips, plus complete 45-minute physio classes. The production quality is very high, and her easy-going and friendly style is very engaging. You’ll like her immediately.

Access to the site is free, but there is an opportunity to donate in order to keep the site going. If you can free up a few bucks, it’s a really great investment. It’s a great site.

Check it out:


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Bodylastics Stackable Resistance Bands

Bodylastic Set

Bodylastics STRONG MAN, Stackable Resistance Bands Sets – Each Set includes Top Quality ANTI-SNAP exercise tubes, Heavy-Duty Components: Anchors/Handles/Ankle Straps, and exercise training resources. $59.97 on Amazon:

You don’t need to go to a gym to get a self-directed therapy workout. You can do that at home with resistance bands. There are lots and lots of choices when it comes to resistance bands available. Let me tell you about the ones I bought. (more…)

Be a 10% ‘er

Casino Roulette

Bet on recovery.

I’ll begin with a question: If I told you that if you do your therapy exercises for a couple of hours every single day, every week, for weeks and months, for several years – and as a result, you’d only have a 10% chance of recovery, would you do them? Suppose I told you that not doing your therapy exercises at all would result in a 0% chance of recovery? (more…)

Get Moving!

Get Moving

Get Moving

So…you’ve just had a stroke. You’re out of the hospital and rehab. Your brain is in a fog and you’re exhausted, both physically and mentally. One side of your body barely functions, including your face. Your speech is as blurry as your thought processes. You might be in a lot of pain. Your vision is also diminished. You may even be suffering from depression. (more…)

Track Your Workouts

Strides for iOS

My habit tracking using the Strides app. Task list is shown here.

You’ve probably heard the old cliché: “A goal without a plan is a wish.” Well, it’s true. If you wish to recover, but you don’t actually have a plan in place to get there, then all you’re doing is wishing. (more…)

Saloniture Professional Portable Folding Massage Table


Saloniture Folding Massage Table

Saloniture Professional Portable Folding Massage Table with Carrying Case: $119.99 from Amazon:

Of all the purchases that I’ve made since my first stroke, this is probably the most important. Sold as a massage table, I have decided that it’s a perfect exercise platform instead. If you’re like me, getting down on the floor is difficult – getting up is damn near impossible. Yet, so many of the exercises that my physical therapist assigned me to do at home require me to be laying down. This table is perfect for that. (more…)

Stronger after Stroke, 3rd Edition, by Peter G. Levine

Stronger After Stroke, 3rd Edition, $15.49 on Amazon: 

If you can read only one book on stroke recovery- read this one.


Recently updated edition. NEW 3rd Edition now available.

“This book is not for stroke survivors who are okay with where they are. This is a book for stroke survivors who want to get better.” – Peter G. Levine

This book is something of a Bible for me. It really is a “Roadmap to Recovery” as the subtitle suggests (more…)