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Top Stroke Rehabil. 2008 Sep-Oct;15(5):494-502. doi: 10.1310/tsr1505-494.

Motivators for treadmill exercise after stroke.

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  • 1University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore factors that motivated older adults with ischemic stroke to engage in a task-oriented treadmill aerobic exercise (T-AEX) intervention study.


Participants included community-dwelling individuals post stroke with mild-to-moderate hemiparetic gait deficits who completed a 6-month T-AEX study. A total of 29 participants attended focus groups or individual telephone interviews.


Thirty-nine codes were identified and were reduced to 8 themes: personal goals supported by 7 codes, psychological benefits supported by 8 codes, physical benefits supported by 10 codes, research-associated supervised treadmill exercise benefits supported by 5 codes, objective and verbal encouragement received supported by 4 codes, social support related to exercise supported by 2 codes, improvement in instrumental activities of daily living supported by 2 codes, and self-determination supported by 1 code. All themes reflected factors that influenced subjects' willingness to participate in the study and adhere to the exercise intervention. Of the themes identified, personal goals, physical benefits, and psychological benefits occurred most frequently.


This qualitative study provides information that may be used to enhance motivation to exercise in individuals with stroke and promote carryover and integration of exercise behaviors into everyday life.

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