Regenerate: assessing the feasibility of a strength-training program to enhance the physical and mental health of chronic post stroke patients with depression

Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2009 Jan;24(1):76-83. doi: 10.1002/gps.2082.


Objective: The Regenerate pilot study explored whether a 10-week, community-based progressive resistance training (PRT) program could reduce depressive symptoms in depressed chronic stroke survivors.

Methods: Participants were screened for depressive status using the PHQ-9 and confirmed by psychiatric assessment. Eligible people (n = 45) were randomised to PRT or a waiting-list comparison group. The PRT program included two high intensity sessions/week for 10 weeks at a community-based gymnasium. Depressive status, physical and mental health and quality of life were measured at baseline, 10 weeks and 6 months. Muscle strength was assessed using 1 repetition maximum (1-RM) for upper and lower limbs.

Results: The participants' median age was 69 years: 27 were male. The intervention group had lower depression scores than the comparison group at all time points. At 6-month follow-up, there was a trend for PRT participants to be more likely to be no longer depressed than the comparison group, but the difference was not significant after adjusting for baseline scores. There were modest improvements in health and wellbeing over time, but many scores were lower than reported in non-depressed people. Intervention participants demonstrated significant improvements in strength. Program adherence was good: on average 75% of the 10-week program was completed.

Conclusions: The intervention appeared to be feasible within a community-based setting. To optimize stroke recovery and improve the quality of life of stroke survivors, health professionals should continue to focus on helping survivors' mental health recovery as well their physical rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Resistance Training*
  • Stroke / psychology
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome