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Evidence Scant on Effects of Exercise After Stroke

Last Updated: October 09, 2009.

Aerobic exercise training that involves walking may improve walking ability in individuals following a stroke, but the effects of cardiorespiratory fitness training on death and disability remain unclear, according to research published online Oct. 7 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

FRIDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Aerobic exercise training that involves walking may improve walking ability in individuals following a stroke, but the effects of cardiorespiratory fitness training on death and disability remain unclear, according to research published online Oct. 7 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

David H. Saunders, of the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed data from 24 trials involving 1,147 participants, made up of 11 trials involving cardiorespiratory training interventions, four trials involving strength training, and nine involving mixed interventions.

The researchers note that only one death occurred during an intervention and eight occurred during follow-up. Disability was difficult to analyze due to varying measures of disability, but effect sizes were generally not significant. Cardiorespiratory training that included walking was associated with faster maximum walking speed, better endurance, and reduced dependence on others while walking.

"Cardiorespiratory walking training during usual stroke care can increase walking speed and walking distance, and reduce dependence on other people during walking. No other evidence is sufficient to influence practice at the present time, other than the observation that most benefits in fitness, mobility, and physical function appear to be associated with 'task-related' training," the authors write. "Resistance training interventions to improve muscle strength and power need investigation but the training must be functionally relevant."

Several co-authors were involved in a study included in the review, and one co-author is married to a director of a company involved in training exercise professionals who work with stroke survivors and other patients.

Abstract


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