Effects of Exercise Training Programs on Walking Competency After Stroke: A Systematic Review.

van de Port, Ingrid G.L;  Wood-Dauphinee, Sharon;  Lindeman, Eline;  Kwakkel, Gert.

The objective of this review was to determine the effectiveness of training programs that focus on lower-limb strengthening, cardiorespiratory fitness, or gait-oriented tasks in improving gait, gait-related activities, and health-related quality of life after stroke. Twenty-one RCTs were included, of which five focused on lower-limb strengthening, two on cardiorespiratory fitness training (e.g., cycling exercises), and 14 on gait-oriented training. Median PEDro score was 7. Meta-analysis showed a significant medium effect of gait-oriented training interventions on both gait speed and walking distance, whereas a small, nonsignificant effect size was found on balance. Cardiorespiratory fitness programs had a nonsignificant medium effect size on gait speed. No significant effects were found for programs targeting lower-limb strengthening. In the best-evidence synthesis, strong evidence was found to support cardiorespiratory training for stair-climbing performance. Although functional mobility was positively affected, no evidence was found that activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, or health-related quality of life were significantly affected by gait-oriented training. This review shows that gait-oriented training is effective in improving walking competency after stroke.

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 2007, 86(11), 935-951

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