Research Article  |   January 2017
Forced Aerobic Exercise Preceding Task Practice Improves Motor Recovery Poststroke
Author Affiliations
  • Susan M. Linder, DPT, NCS, is Project Staff, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Cleveland Clinic Concussion Center, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH; linders@ccf.org
  • Anson B. Rosenfeldt, DPT, MBA, is Research Physical Therapist, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
  • Tanujit Dey, PhD, is Associate Staff, Cleveland Clinic Concussion Center and Quantitative Health Sciences, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
  • Jay L. Alberts, PhD, is Staff, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Center for Neurological Restoration, and Cleveland Clinic Concussion Center, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
Article Information
Complementary/Alternative Approaches / Neurologic Conditions / Stroke / Rehabilitation, Disability, and Participation
Research Article   |   January 2017
Forced Aerobic Exercise Preceding Task Practice Improves Motor Recovery Poststroke
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 2017, Vol. 71, 7102290020p1-7102290020p9. doi:10.5014/ajot.2017.020297
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 2017, Vol. 71, 7102290020p1-7102290020p9. doi:10.5014/ajot.2017.020297
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. To understand how two types of aerobic exercise affect upper-extremity motor recovery post-stroke. Our aims were to (1) evaluate the feasibility of having people who had a stroke complete an aerobic exercise intervention and (2) determine whether forced or voluntary exercise differentially facilitates upper-extremity recovery when paired with task practice.

METHOD. Seventeen participants with chronic stroke completed twenty-four 90-min sessions over 8 wk. Aerobic exercise was immediately followed by task practice. Participants were randomized to forced or voluntary aerobic exercise groups or to task practice only.

RESULTS. Improvement on the Fugl-Meyer Assessment exceeded the minimal clinically important difference: 12.3, 4.8, and 4.4 for the forced exercise, voluntary exercise, and repetitive task practice–only groups, respectively. Only the forced exercise group exhibited a statistically significant improvement.

CONCLUSION. People with chronic stroke can safely complete intensive aerobic exercise. Forced aerobic exercise may be optimal in facilitating motor recovery associated with task practice.