I recognize that your body is altered from the way it was before the strokes. A little or a lot! I have the motor function of my right side changed dramatically. It is totally different from how I approach my life. I knew that I had to use my affected upper limb to push my rehabilitation to a higher notch. Also, I have some Scottish blood in me. The Scots are known for being very frugal. I want to make sure I get my money’s worth!

I decided I was going to make a low-cost, effective design that I could use outside. I bought a 3/4” plastic pipe from my local hardware store. The man was kind enough to cut a 5’ section out of the long pipe. I forgot how much it cost, but it was less than USD$10. 

I took some 1” white cloth tape that I had and taped it over one end. Again, the tape you can get on Amazon of less than USD$5 (e.g. 5775RL – Medical Tape 3M Durapore Silk-Like Cloth 1 Inch X 10 Yard White NonSterile).

Then I took the 3/4″ black leg tip and put it on the bottom. I got the SoftTouch Rubber Leg Tip – (4 pieces), 3/4″, Black, where else but Amazon for under USD$5. Do you sense a theme for low-cost design? If I want to get the finished product, it would be much more to buy. 

The two alterations have determined which direction is the top and the bottom. Make sure the pole is in the correct direction before placing the next piece of the puzzle!

To keep my hand anchored in place on the pole, I took some self-adhesive tape at the level where my hand will be. To determine where your hand needs to be, use your non-affected upper limb. Put your elbow at a 90-degree angle. That is where the tape needs to go on the pole. It is a good idea to apply the tape about 2 – 4” above and below to allow for slippage of your hand while you are doing the exercise. From Amazon, I got this product (Ever Ready First Aid Self Adherent Cohesive Bandages 3″ x 5 Yards – 6 Count, Rainbow Colors) for around USD$9. I have lots of the product left over.

To use my affected hand, I needed something which would mimic when I used to get my affected hand wrapped with an “Ace” bandage when I was in therapy. I found a product that would be effective. It is called the (a long name!) the Finger Splint Brace ability, KIKIGOAL Finger Gloves Brace Elderly Fist Stroke Hemiplegia Hand Training. It costs about USD$11 on Amazon. 

You are ready to exercise your upper limb! Start slowly. I sit on a chair or bench. I lay my hand on the pole set horizontally on my knees. It is easier to position my hand on the self-adherent cohesive bandage than when I attempt to hold in position when I am standing. I still have a very weak grip with my affected hand. I put the finger brace on my hand and fingers. My fingers are very weak too, so I have to be careful when I am threading my fingers in the brace. Cinch the brace over the bandage and I (and you) are prepared to exercise.

Now you can find another pole approximately the same length as the 5-foot pole for the non-affected upper limb. Begin walking using your arms, alternating with the opposite legs. Left arm, right leg. Right arm, left leg. Keep going and pace yourself so you can end up back at the starting point.

Work up to doing this exercise at least 3 times a week. Preferably, attempt to do it at least 5 times a week. It may be months or a year or two before you can really feel the difference. It seems hard at first. It beats the alternative of not doing anything with your upper limb.

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