The purpose of this systematic review was to examine studies that examined the effectiveness of aerobic exercise interventions on mobility in long-term stroke survivors.Design
The authors searched electronic databases for randomized control trials between January 1995 and December 2014 investigating aerobic exercise interventions and mobility in stroke survivors after the subacute phase (>6 mos). Mobility was measured using objective functional fitness tests: 6-minute walk, 10-meter walk, and up-n-go.Results
Nine randomized control trials that compared aerobic exercise with a control group among stroke survivors (mean age, 56.95–68 yrs) were identified. Aerobic interventions lasted between 2 and 6 mos and primarily involved walking. Using the Comprehensive Meta-analysis software, it was found that two of the three mobility outcomes showed small to moderate effect sizes favoring the aerobic exercise group: 6-minute walk (g = 0.366, P < 0.001) and 10-meter walk (g = 0.411, P = 0.002), while the up-n-go test was not significant (g = −0.150, P = 0.330).Conclusion
These findings demonstrate that stroke survivors may continue to benefit from aerobic exercise after the subacute phase. Future research needs to examine the precise dose and recommendation for aerobic exercise, test other exercise modalities, and use larger samples to thoroughly determine long-term exercise effects on mobility in this population.