Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a 12-wk exercise training program in a predominantly African-American group of stroke survivors with multiple comorbidities.
Methods: A lag-control group design was employed to provide training to all participants (N = 35). Two 12-wk training iterations were arranged. Participants trained 3 d x wk(-1) for 60 min x d(-1) (cardiovascular, 30 min; strength, 20 min; flexibility, 10 min). Outcome measures included peak VO2 (mL x min(-1), mL x kg(-1) x min(-1), maximal workload (MW), time to exhaustion (TTE), 10 RM on two LifeFitness strength machines, grip strength (GS), body weight (BW), total skinfolds (TS), waist to hip ratio (WHR), hamstring/low back flexibility (HLBF), and shoulder flexibility (SF).
Results: Compared with controls, the exercise group showed significant gains in peak VO2 (P < 0.01), strength (P < 0.01), HLBF (P < 0.01), and body composition (BW and BMI, P < 0.05; TS, P < 0.01). There was no significant difference between exercise and controls on WHR, SF, and GS.
Discussion: A supervised exercise training program for stroke survivors with multiple comorbidities was highly effective in improving overall fitness, potentially reducing the risk of further disease and disability. Greater effort must be made on the part of the public health community to increase access to community-based physical activity programs for persons with stroke.