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Effect of mixed and collective physical activity in chronic stroke rehabilitation: A randomized cross-over trial in low-income settings.

BACKGROUND: The prevalence of physical inactivity after stroke is high and exercise training improves many outcomes. However, access to community training protocols is limited, especially in low-income settings.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the feasibility and efficacy of a new intervention: Circuit walking, balance, cycling and strength training (CBCS) on activity of daily living (ADL) limitations, motor performance, and social participation restrictions in people after stroke.

METHODS: Forty-six community-dwelling individuals with chronic stroke who were no longer in conventional rehabilitation were randomized into an immediate CBCS group (IG; initially received CBCS training for 12 weeks in phase 1), and a delayed CBCS group (DG) that first participated in sociocultural activities for 12 weeks. In phase 2, participants crossed over so that the DG underwent CBCS and the IG performed sociocultural activities. The primary outcome was ADL limitations measured with the ACTIVLIM-Stroke scale. Secondary outcomes included motor performance (balance: Berg Balance Scale [BBS], global impairment: Stroke Impairment Assessment Set [SIAS] and mobility: 6-minute and 10-metre walk tests [6MWT and 10mWT] and psychosocial health [depression and participation]). Additional outcomes included feasibility (retention, adherence) and safety.

RESULTS: ADL capacity significantly improved pre to post CBCS training (ACTIVLIM-stroke, +3,4 logits, p < 0.001; effect size [ES] 0.87), balance (BBS, +21 points, p < 0.001; ES 0.9), impairments (SIAS, +11 points, p < 0.001; ES 0.9), and mobility (+145 m for 6MWT and +0.37 m/s for 10mWT; p < 0.001; ES 0.7 and 0.5 respectively). Similar improvements in psychosocial health occurred in both groups. Adherence and retention rates were 95% and 100%, respectively.

CONCLUSION: CBCS was feasible, safe and improved functional independence and motor abilities in individuals in the chronic stage of stroke. Participation in CBCS improved depression and social participation similarly to participation in sociocultural activities. The benefits persisted for at least 3 months after intervention completion.


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