Objective: To examine the effectiveness of a dual-task-based exercise program on walking ability in subjects with chronic stroke.
Design: Single-blind randomized controlled trial.
Setting: General community.
Participants: Twenty-five subjects with chronic stroke who were at least limited community ambulatory subjects (a minimum gait velocity, 58cm/s).
Interventions: Participants were randomized into a control group (n=12) or experimental group (n=13). Subjects in the control group did not receive any rehabilitation training. Subjects in the experimental group underwent a 4-week ball exercise program.
Main outcome measures: Gait performance was measured under single task (preferred walking) and tray-carrying task. Gait parameters of interest were walking speed, cadence, stride time, stride length, and temporal symmetry index.
Results: The experimental group showed significant improvement in all selected gait measures except for temporal symmetry index under both task conditions. In the control group, there were no significant changes over the 4-week period for all selected measures. There was a significant difference between groups for all selected gait variables except for temporal symmetry index under both task conditions.
Conclusions: The dual-task-based exercise program is feasible and beneficial for improving walking ability in subjects with chronic stroke.