Another Reason to Exercise – It could Help Stroke Recovery

Everyone knows about the importance of exercising on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many Americans still cannot bring themselves to get off the couch. A recent study might provide extra incentive for those still reluctant to engage in physical activity.

Aerobics and Endurance

This report, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that stroke survivors who exercised on a regular basis enjoyed better endurance and walking ability compared to their more sedentary peers. The authors of this report reached this conclusion upon reviewing 19 previous studies that encompassed nearly 500 adults with a history of stroke. The ages of these participants ranged from 54 through 71. 

The adults who participated in these studies were all asked to complete exercise programs, during which they performed multiple aerobic activities, such as walking or stationary cycling. Prior to starting these programs, the participants’ endurance levels and walking speed were documented. Both were measured again following the completion of the programs.

Walking Tall

After reviewing the data from these subjects, it became apparent that the adults benefitted notably from regular exercise. Following therapy, the participants recorded walking distances during timed tests increased by the length of half a football field. 

Senior study author Elizabeth Regan noted that “these benefits were realized regardless of how long it had been since their stroke. Our analysis included stroke survivors across a wide range, from less than six months to greater than a year since their stroke, and the benefits were seen whether they started an aerobic exercise program one month or one year after having a stroke.” 

Stroke survivors are typically prescribed physical therapy to help their bodies recover. As of now, aerobic activities play a very minor role in conventional stroke rehabilitation programs.

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