Background: After stroke, the early and persistent decline in aerobic capacity leads to diminish walking capacities. The aim of the study is to investigate the effects of aerobic cycloergometer interval-training on the walking performances in subacute and chronic stroke survivors.
Method: A prospective design was used. Fourteen patients whose stroke had occurred more than 3 months and less than 2 years performed an aerobic training session with a cycloergometer for 8 weeks. A maximal exercise test, a 6-min walking test, a 20-m test and an isokinetic muscle strength test were realized before and after training session.
Results: There was a significant increase after aerobic training in maximal power (Pmax) (mean 23.2%, P<0.0001), in VO(2peak) (mean 14.8%, P=0.04), and in the knee extension and flexion muscle peak torque on the nonparetic side and extension on the paretic side in isokinetic mode (mean from 13 to 29%, P=from 0.019 to P=0.0007) and in the walking performances on the 6-min walk test (mean 15.8%, P=0.0002).
Conclusion: Patients with subacute and chronic stroke can improve aerobic capacity, muscle strength and walking performances after cycloergometer interval-training. Although these results must be interpreted with caution considering the small size of our sample, they suggest that aerobic training is a safe and potentially effective training after stroke and an alternative to walking treadmill training.
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