Post-stroke rehabilitation requires exercise 2023


Physical activity following a stroke can be essential to a successful recovery. Six months after a stroke, those who exercise four hours per week recover more functionally than those who don’t, according to a study from the University of Gothenburg.

The study, which has been published in the journal JAMA Network Open, is based on information from 1,500 stroke patients in 35 Swedish hospitals. The participants were categorized based on their post-stroke physical activity patterns.

The results indicate that increased or maintained physical activity, consisting of four hours of exercise per week, doubled the patients’ odds of recovering from a stroke within six months.

Men and individuals with normal cognition were more likely to maintain an active lifestyle, resulting in enhanced recovery.

Positive conditioning through exercise

Researchers have previously established a distinct inverse relationship between physical activity and the severity of stroke symptoms at the actual onset of the disease. The significance of maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle after a stroke is highlighted by these new findings.

Dongni Buvarp, the first and corresponding author of the study, is a clinical neuroscience researcher at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg. In addition to her research residency, she is a resident doctor at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in the initial stage of her specialist training.

After a stroke, physical activity reprograms both the brain and the body in a positive manner. Exercise enhances cellular recovery, increases muscle strength and well-being, and decreases the risk of falls, melancholy, and cardiovascular disease. “Regardless of the severity of the stroke, those affected can benefit from increased physical activity,” she explains.

Knowledge and assistance crucial

“Physical activity is incredibly essential, particularly after a stroke. This is a message that all health professionals, stroke victims, and family members should be aware of.

After a stroke, women and persons with cognitive impairment appear to become less active. The results of the study indicate that these groups require more encouragement to engage in physical activity, according to Buvarp.

A limitation of the study is that, with a few exceptions, the researchers were unable to examine the level of activity of the participants before the stroke. The included patients were treated in Sweden between 2014 and 2019.

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