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Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2009 Nov;23(9):879-85. doi: 10.1177/1545968309338193. Epub 2009 Jun 18.

Aerobic exercise improves cognition and motor function poststroke.

Author information

  • 1Department of Neurology, Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas 66160, USA. bquaney@kumc.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Cognitive deficits impede stroke recovery. Aerobic exercise (AEX) improves cognitive executive function (EF) processes in healthy individuals, although the learning benefits after stroke are unknown.

OBJECTIVE:

To understand AEX-induced improvements in EF, motor learning, and mobility poststroke.

METHODS:

Following cardiorespiratory testing, 38 chronic stroke survivors were randomized to 2 different groups that exercised 3 times a week (45-minute sessions) for 8 weeks. The AEX group (n = 19; 9 women; 10 men; 64.10 +/- 12.30 years) performed progressive resistive stationary bicycle training at 70% maximal heart rate, whereas the Stretching Exercise (SE) group (n = 19; 12 women; 7 men; 58.96 +/- 14.68 years) performed stretches at home. Between-group comparisons were performed on the change in performance at "Post" and "Retention" (8 weeks later) for neuropsychological and motor function measures.

RESULTS:

VO(2)max significantly improved at Post with AEX (P = .04). AEX also improved motor learning in the less-affected hand, with large effect sizes (Cohen's d calculation). Specifically, AEX significantly improved information processing speed on the serial reaction time task (SRTT; ie, "procedural motor learning") compared with the SE group at Post (P = .024), but not at Retention. Also, at Post (P = .038), AEX significantly improved predictive force accuracy for a precision grip task requiring attention and conditional motor learning of visual cues. Ambulation and sit-to-stand transfers were significantly faster in the AEX group at Post (P = .038), with balance control significantly improved at Retention (P = .041). EF measurements were not significantly different for the AEX group.

CONCLUSION:

AEX improved mobility and selected cognitive domains related to motor learning, which enhances sensorimotor control after stroke.

PMID:
19541916
PMCID:
PMC3024242
DOI:
10.1177/1545968309338193
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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