Aerobic cycle training and strength training do little to improve the ability of stroke patients to walk greater distances or at a faster clip, Australian and US researchers have found. Stroke survivors need specific training to improve their ability to walk, which is often compromised after stroke, they suggest.
"The implications from our study," Dr. Sharon L. Kilbreath told Reuters Health, "are that patients following stroke can undertake a vigorous exercise program to address the underlying problems, such as loss of fitness and weakness. However, addressing these underlying problems does not necessarily improve their ability to perform everyday tasks such as walking."
After 30 exercise sessions over 10 to 12 weeks, the team found that, compared to sham exercise, neither aerobic nor resistance training led to any significant improvement in the six-minute walk test or in gait velocity. However, resistance training prompted a significant 17% improvement in stair climbing power as well as improvements in muscle strength, cycling power and endurance. The only improvement seen with cycle training was in indicators of aerobic fitness.
Stroke survivors, Kilbreath concludes, "need specific training to address walking ability," and participating in a vigorous exercise program may make walk training easier.
Adapted from a news blog from


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