Background: Exercise interventions can enhance mobility after stroke as well as prevent falls in elderly persons.
Objective: Investigate whether an exercise intervention can enhance mobility, prevent falls, and increase physical activity among community-dwelling people after stroke.
Method: A randomized trial with blinding of physical outcome assessment was conducted through local stroke clubs. Both groups, on average 5.9 years poststroke, received exercise classes, advice, and a home program for 12 months. The experimental group (EG) program (n = 76) aimed to improve walking, prevent falls and increase physical activity. The control group (CG) program (n = 75) aimed to improve upper-limb and cognitive functions. The primary outcomes were walking capacity, walking speed measured before and after the intervention, and fall rates monitored monthly.
Results: At 12 months, the EG walked 34 m further in 6 minutes (95% confidence interval [CI] = 19-50; P < .001) and 0.07 m/s faster over 10 m (95% CI = 0.01-0.14; P = .03) than the CG. The EG had 129 falls, and the CG had 133. There were no differences in proportion of fallers (relative risk = 1.22; 95% CI = 0.91-1.62; P = .19) or the rate of falls between groups (incidence rate ratio = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.59-1.51; P = .88).
Conclusion: The experimental intervention delivered through stroke clubs enhanced aspects of mobility but had no effect on falls.