Intensive treadmill training in the acute phase after ischemic stroke

Int J Rehabil Res. 2016 Jun;39(2):145-52. doi: 10.1097/MRR.0000000000000158.


The aim of the study was to (a) assess the feasibility of intensive treadmill training in patients with acute ischemic stroke, (b) test whether physical activity of the legs during training increases with time, and (c) evaluate to what extent training sessions contribute toward the overall physical activity of these patients. Twenty hospitalized patients with acute ischemic stroke trained on a treadmill twice daily for 30 min for 5 days and on day 30. Physical activity was measured as activity counts (AC) from accelerometers. A total of 196 of 224 initiated training sessions were completed. Training started 41.5±14 h after symptom onset. Only nonserious adverse events occurred in 14.7% of the sessions. An intensity of at least 50% of the individual heart rate reserve was obtained in 31% of training sessions. There was a significant increase in AC/min in the legs during training sessions with increasing number of days, with the median AC being 133% higher on day 5 than on day 1. AC in the paretic leg during 60 min of training constituted median 53% of the daytime AC. Early intensive treadmill training in acute ischemic stroke patients is thus feasible and contributes considerably toward the patients' overall physical activity.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cerebral Infarction / rehabilitation*
  • Early Ambulation
  • Exercise Test*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Endurance
  • Stroke Rehabilitation / methods*
  • Walking Speed