Effects of an Aerobic Exercise Program on Aerobic Capacity, Spatiotemporal Gait Parameters, and Functional Capacity in Subacute Stroke

The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of adding aerobic cycle ergometer training to conventional rehabilitation early after stroke and to determine effects on aerobic capacity, walking ability, and health-related quality of life. All participants performed a graded maximal exercise test on a semi-recumbent cycle ergometer, spatiotemporal gait assessments, 6-Minute Walk Test, and Stroke Impact Scale. The Exercise group added 30 minutes of aerobic cycle ergometry to conventional inpatient rehabilitation 3 days/week until discharge; the Control group received conventional rehabilitation only.

Early aerobic training can be safely implemented without deleterious effects on stroke rehabilitation. A trend toward greater improvement in aerobic capacity and walking capacity suggests that such training may have an early beneficial effect and should be considered for inclusion in rehabilitation programs.

Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 2009. 23(4), 398-406

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