Stroke survivors’ endurance improves with aerobic activities.
Washington: Aerobic activity can prove beneficial for stroke survivors, a new study has revealed. The study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association stated that stroke survivors who underwent group-based aerobic exercise programs which were similar in design and duration to cardiac rehabilitation programs showed a significant improvement in their aerobic endurance and walking ability.
“The physical therapy we currently provide to patients after a stroke focuses more on improving the ability to move and move well rather than on increasing how far and long you can move,” said Elizabeth Regan, DPT, study lead author, and PhD candidate in Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina.
Participants attended two to three sessions per week for about three months. Of nearly two dozen different exercise groups, walking was the most common type of activity, followed by stationary cycling and then mixed-mode aerobic exercise.
After the study, researchers found that mixed aerobic activity provides the best result (4 treatment groups) followed by walking (12 treatment groups). Cycling or recumbent stepping (the machine that allows stepping while in a seated position) while still significant was the least effective (7 treatment groups).
Overall, the participants in the study significantly improved their endurance level and walking speed.
On average, participants walked almost half the size of a football field farther during a six-minute walking test. Participants with mild movement impairments benefited the most.
“Our analysis included stroke survivors across a wide range, from less than six months to greater than a year since their stroke, and the benefits were seen whether they started an aerobic exercise program one month or one year after having a stroke,” Regan explained.