Regular physical activity is essential for cardiovascular health. Time spent in sedentary behaviors (eg, sitting, lying down) also is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The pattern in which sedentary time is accumulated is significant—with prolonged periods of sitting time being particularly deleterious. People with stroke are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, including recurrent stroke. The goals of this systematic review were to update current knowledge of physical activity and sedentary behaviors among people with stroke living in the community. A secondary aim was to examine factors related to physical activity levels. The data sources used were MEDLINE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Allied and Complimentary Medicine Database (AMED), EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library. Studies involving people with stroke living in the community and utilizing objective measures of physical activity or sedentary behaviors were included. Data were extracted by one reviewer and checked for accuracy by a second person. Walking ability, balance, and degree of physical fitness were positively associated with higher levels of physical activity. This review included only studies of people living in the community after stroke who were able to walk, and the majority of included participants were aged between 65 and 75 years of age.
Little is known about the time people with stroke spend being sedentary each day or the pattern in which sedentary time is accumulated. Studies using objective, reliable, and valid measures of sedentary time are needed to further investigate the effects of sedentary time on the health of people with stroke.