In this updated review, the authors included 58 trials (n=2,797 participants) which evaluated cardiorespiratory training, resistance training, or a mix of both interventions. Cardiorespiratory training involving walking increases maximum walking speed by 6.71 metres per minute (95% CI 2.73 to 10.69), preferred speed by 4.28 metres per minute (95% CI 1.71 to 6.84), and capacity by 30.29 metres in six minutes (95% CI 16.19 to 44.39) compared to control (usual care and/or non-exercise intervention). Mixed training, also involving walking, increases preferred walking speed by 4.54 metres per minute (95% CI 0.95 to 8.14), and capacity by 41.60 metres per six minutes (95% CI 25.25 to 57.95) compared to control. The interventions were safe, with no evidence of injuries or other health problems. Cardiorespiratory training and mixed training should be incorporated into stroke services, including after discharge from hospital. More well-designed trials are needed to evaluate resistance training, determine the optimal exercise prescription and identify long-term benefits.
Saunders DH et al. Physical fitness training for stroke patients. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016;Issue3