Original research| Volume 100, ISSUE 5, P923-930, May 2019

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Combined Aerobic Exercise and Task Practice Improve Health-Related Quality of Life Poststroke: A Preliminary Analysis

Published:December 10, 2018DOI:



      The aim of this project was to determine the effects of lower extremity aerobic exercise coupled with upper extremity repetitive task practice (RTP) on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and depressive symptomology in individuals with chronic stroke.


      Secondary analysis of data from 2 randomized controlled trials.


      Research laboratory.


      Individuals (N=40) with chronic stroke.


      Participants received one of the following interventions: forced exercise+RTP (FE+RTP, n=16), voluntary exercise+RTP (VE+RTP, n=16), or stroke education+RTP (EDU+RTP, n=8). All groups completed 24 sessions, each session lasting 90 minutes.

      Main Outcome Measures

      The Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D) and Stroke Impact Scale (SIS) were used to assess depressive symptomology and HRQOL.


      There were no significant group-by-time interactions for any of the SIS domains or composite scores. Examining the individual groups following the intervention, those in the FE+RTP and VE+RTP groups demonstrated significant improvements in the following SIS domains: strength, mobility, hand function, activities of daily living, and the physical composite. In addition, the FE+RTP group demonstrated significant improvements in memory, cognitive composite, and percent recovery from stroke. The HRQOL did not change in the EDU+RTP group. Although CES-D scores improved predominantly for those in the FE+RTP group, these improvements were not statistically significant. Overall, results were maintained at the 4-week follow-up.


      Aerobic exercise, regardless of mode, preceding motor task practice may improve HRQOL in patients with stroke. The potential of aerobic exercise to improve cardiorespiratory endurance, motor outcomes, and HRQOL poststroke justifies its use to augment traditional task practice.


      List of abbreviations:

      ADL (activity of daily living), CES-D (Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression), EDU (education), EOT (end of treatment), FE (forced exercise), HRQOL (health-related quality of life), PSD (poststroke depression), RTP (repetitive task practice), SIS (Stroke Impact Scale), UE (upper extremity), VE (voluntary exercise)
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