For the stroke patient who is already walking but wants to improve speed of walking or the ability to make transitional movement, it is important to vary the routine and incorporate a variety of exercises. Transitional movement involves changing from one position to another. Examples of transitional movement include getting up and down, making turns, navigating up or down a step, changing directions, etc.
In order to improve gait speed and transitional movement, it is a good idea to incorporate exercises that are challenging. Some examples would include stair stepping, dance moves, walking over uneven surfaces, side stepping, walking backwards, getting up and down from the floor, and climbing up/down hills. Other activities to incorporate into the exercise routine would include walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike at various speeds as well as including strengthening exercises to help weak musculature. Obviously some of these exercises may be too hard for some patients so it is important to consult with your own therapist to see what exercises may work for you.
By incorporating a good mix of exercises, you challenge your body more similar to the way that it is used in real lift. If you simply do leg raises, knee extensions, and foot circles with ten minutes of riding a stationary bike, you are in no way challenging yourself to experience the situations you come across in real life. Such situations include navigating curbs or stairs, walking over uneven grass/dirt, going up/down a ramp or stairs, holding a door open while trying to walk through it, getting up off the floor or a low seat, bending down to get something off the floor or out of the closet, etc. Our body does not simply move in a linear patterns walking only forward. There are twists and turns involved requiring complex patterns of movement.
It is important to challenge yourself and talk to your therapist about making sure your therapy program is challenging enough. For some ideas of exercises to improve gait, I recommend looking over the FAME program from the University of British Columbia. The exercises are meant for a group exercise program with supervision from an instructor, but the exercises presented would be beneficial even to an individual as long as adequate assistance is given. Remember to check with your therapist before trying any new exercises as the exercises may not be appropriate for you.