To assess the feasibility and safety of a 6-week course of water walking performed using a motorized aquatic treadmill in individuals with subacute stroke for cardiorespiratory fitness, walking endurance, and activities of daily living.Methods:
Twenty subacute stroke patents were randomly assigned to aquatic treadmill exercise (ATE) or land-based exercise (LBE). The ATE group (n = 10) performed water-based aerobic exercise on a motorized aquatic treadmill, and the LBE group (n = 10) performed land-based aerobic exercise on a cycle ergometer. Both groups performed aerobic exercise for 30 minutes, 5 times per week for 6 weeks. Primary outcome measures were 6-minute walk test for walking endurance and cardiopulmonary fitness parameters of a symptom-limited exercise tolerance test, and secondary measures were Korean version of the Modified Barthel Index (K-MBI) for activities of daily living. All variables were assessed at baseline and at the end of the intervention.Results:
The ATE group showed significant improvements in 6-minute walk test (P = .005), peak oxygen uptake (Results:
O2peak; P = .005), peak heart rate (P = .007), exercise tolerance test duration (P = .005), and K-MBI (P = .008). The LBE group showed a significant improvement only in K-MBI (P = .012). In addition, improvement inResults:
O2peak was greater in the ATE than in the LBE group.Conclusion:
This preliminary study showed that a 6-week ATE program improved peak aerobic capacity and walking endurance in patients with subacute stroke. The improvement inConclusion:
O2peak after an ATE exercise program was greater than that observed after an LBE program. Therefore, ATE effectively improves cardiopulmonary fitness in patients with subacute stroke.