What are the benefits of aerobic exercise in stroke?

What are the benefits of aerobic exercise in stroke?

We all know the great impact exercise can have on normal healthy adults and those with disability. Today we break down a quick summary from the paper “Application of principles of exercise training in sub-acute and chronic stroke survivors: a systematic review  (2014) FREE FULL TEXT.  Why not have a read of the full free text to update your knowledge.

1. Its is thought that exercise has a positive impact on cognitive ability in healthy adults and those with mild cognitive deficit (Lautenschlager et al, 2008)

2. Promotes neuroplasticity by the upregulation of neurotrophins (Mang et al, 2013)

3. Intensive rehabilitation in the chronic stage of stroke reduced blood pressure and improved arterial function (Takortori et al, 2012)

4.Allows people to maintain ability to perform functional tasks such as transfers and mobility contributing to a more independent lifestyle (English et al, 2014)

5. To help reduce risk of secondary stroke. 30% of stroke survivors will have recurrent stroke within their lifetimes, of which 18% will prove fatal. (Billinger et al, 2014) If optimal fitness reduces the risk of subsequent stroke why not encourage pts to get fit?


The following may be unrealistic for a stroke survivor but rather aims to challenge your belief system of age and expectation. With an ageing population physios need to be pushing public health messages more than ever and helping people take responsibility for their own health and where possible, assisting them to achieve their full potential.



Billinger SA, Arena R, Bernhardt J, Eng JJ, Franklin BA, Johnson CM, MacKay-Lyons M, Macko RF, Mead GE, Roth EJ, Shaughnessy M, Tang A: Physical Activity and Exercise Recommendations for Stroke Survivors: A Statement for Healthcare Professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke 2014, 45(8):2532-2553. 

English C, Manns PJ, Tucak C, Bernhardt J: Physical activity and sedentary behaviors in people with stroke living in the community: a systematic review. Phys Ther 2014, 94(2):185-196.

Lautenschlager NT, Cox KL, Flicker L, et al. Effect of physical activity on cognitive function in older adults at risk for Alzheimer Disease; a randomized trial. JAMA.2008;300:1027–37.

Mang CS, Campbell KL, Ross CJ, Boyd LA: Promoting neuroplasticity for motor rehabilitation after stroke: considering the effects of aerobic exercise and genetic variation on brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Phys Ther 2013, 93(12):1707-1716. 

Takatori K, Matsumoto D, Okada Y, Nakamura J, Shomoto K: Effect of intensive rehabilitation on physical function and arterial function in community-dwelling chronic stroke survivors.Top Stroke Rehabil 2012, 19(5):377-383.