Can individuals participating in cardiac rehabilitation achieve recommended exercise training levels following stroke?

J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. 2012 May-Jun;32(3):127-34. doi: 10.1097/HCR.0b013e31824d2ab3.


Purpose: Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) has been recommended to provide exercise guidance poststroke. However, it has not been established whether minimal exercise training levels, sufficient for obtaining health benefits, can be attained in CR. Therefore, we assessed the ability of stroke patients to achieve recommended exercise levels during a single standard CR session following completion of CR.

Methods: Sixteen patients (10 males and 6 females) with mild/moderate motor impairments who had completed CR participated in the study. Resting metabolic rate and oxygen uptake during 30 minutes each of aerobic and resistance training (AT, RT, respectively) were assessed by ambulatory oxygen monitor. Obtained values were compared with recommended minimal levels, that is, 20 or more minutes of exercise at 40% or more of peak oxygen uptake (VO(2peak)), 30 or more minutes of exercise at 3 or more metabolic equivalents (METs) (multiples of resting metabolic rate), and an energy expenditure of approximately 200 kcal per session.

Results: Mean time sustaining 40% or more of VO(2peak) was 47.6 ± 9 minutes, exceeding the minimal target of 20 minutes (P < .001). Time sustaining 3 or more METs was 30.8 ± 12.2 minutes, matching the target of 30 minutes (P = .8). Total energy expenditure (252 ± 49.9 kcal) was significantly greater than the target value of 200 kcal (P = .001).

Conclusions: Chronic stroke patients with mild/moderate motor impairments are able to meet or exceed minimal recommended exercise target levels for intensity, duration, and energy expenditure during a typical exercise session consisting of 30 minutes of AT combined with 30 minutes of RT after completing CR. These data contribute to the evidence promoting the efficacy and feasibility of CR for people following stroke.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Basal Metabolism / physiology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disability Evaluation*
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Stroke / metabolism
  • Stroke / physiopathology
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome