Stroke: A Randomized Trial of Exercise or Relaxation

Gillian E. Mead, Carolyn A. Greig, Irene Cunningham, Susan J. Lewis, Susie Dinan, David H. Saunders, Claire Fitzsimons, Archie Young

This was a randomized exploratory trial conducted to determine the feasibility and effect of exercise training after stroke. Sixty-six independently ambulatory patients without significant dysphasia, confusion, or medical contraindications to exercise comparing exercise training were allocated to either the exercise group (including progressive endurance and resistance training) or relaxation group (attention control). Both interventions were held three times a week for 12 weeks. Up to seven patients attended each session. The Functional Independence Measure; Nottingham Extended Activities of Daily Living; Rivermead Mobility Index; functional reach; sit-to-stand; elderly mobility score; timed up-and-go; Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Questionnaire, version 2 (SF-36); Hospital Anxiety and Depression Score; aspects of physical fitness (comfortable walking speed, walking economy, and explosive leg extensor power) were measured at baseline, immediately after interventions (3 months), and 7 months after baseline. The authors found that at 3 months, role-physical (an item in SF-36), timed up-and-go, and walking economy were significantly better in the exercise group. At 7 months, role-physical was the only significant difference between groups. The authors concluded that exercise training for ambulatory stroke patients was feasible and led to significantly greater benefits in aspects of physical function and perceived effect of physical health on daily life.

Journal of the American Geriatrics Association, 2007, 55 (6), 892-899

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