Submaximal and Peak Cardiorespiratory Response After Moderate-High Intensity Exercise Training in Subacute Stroke

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Reduced cardiovascular fitness poststroke may negatively impact recovery. There is little information regarding exercise testing performance and cardiorespiratory response to an aerobic exercise intervention in subacute stroke. The purpose of this study was to examine cardiorespiratory response in subacute stroke after an 8-week aerobic exercise intervention using a total body recumbent stepper (TBRS).


Nine individuals with mean age 61.2 (SD 4.7) years and mean 66.7 (SD 41.5) days post-stroke completed the exercise intervention. Participants had a mean Fugl-Meyer score of 100.3 (SD 29.3). Outcome measures were obtained at baseline and postintervention. A peak exercise test using a TBRS assessed oxygen consumption, heart rate, and minute ventilation. Participants completed an 8-week exercise intervention on a recumbent stepper 3 times per week at a prescribed heart rate intensity.


Submaximal VO2 was significantly lower from baseline to postintervention with a main effect of Study Visit (F1,8 = 8.5, p = 0.02). Heart rate was not significantly different pre- to postintervention. Minute ventilation exhibited no main effect of Study Visit or Test Minute.


Moderate-high intensity aerobic exercise in subacute stroke appears to be beneficial for improving cardiovascular outcomes during submaximal performance of an exercise test.

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