Intensity of daily physical activity - a key component for improving physical capacity after minor stroke?

Hanneke E. M. Braakhuis*, Jolanda M. B. Roelofs, Monique A. M. Berger, Gerard M. Ribbers, Vivian Weerdesteyn, J. B. J. Bussmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose: Elucidating the complex interactions between physical activity (PA), a multidimensional concept, and physical capacity (PC) may reveal ways to improve rehabilitation interventions. This cross-sectional study aimed to explore which PA dimensions are related to PC in people after minor stroke. Materials and methods: Community dwelling individuals >6 months after minor stroke were evaluated with a 10-Meter-Walking-Test (10MWT), Timed-Up & Go, and the Mini Balance Evaluation System Test. The following PA outcomes were measured with an Activ8 accelerometer: counts per minute during walking (CPM walking; a measure of intensity), number of active bouts (frequency), mean length of active bouts (distribution), and percentage of waking hours in upright positions (duration). Multivariable linear regression models, adjusted for age, sex and BMI, were used to assess the relationships between PC and PA outcomes. Results: Sixty-nine participants [62.2 ± 9.8 years, 61% male, 20 months post onset (IQR 13.0–53.5)] were included in the analysis. CPM walking was significantly associated to PC in the 10MWT (std. ß = 0.409, p = 0.002), whereas other associations between PA and PC were not significant. Conclusions: The PA dimension intensity of walking is significantly associated with PC, and appears to be an important tool for future interventions in rehabilitation after minor stroke.Implications for rehabilitation It is recommended to express physical activity after minor stroke in multiple dimensions such as intensity, frequency, duration and distribution. In particular, intensity of physical activity measured with accelerometer counts is most closely related to physical capacity. The findings of this study underline the importance of being physically active beyond a certain intensity. In future development of interventions and guidelines that aim to promote daily physical activity, intensity should be taken into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3048-3053
Number of pages6
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number13
Early online date9 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Sanne Beurskens for her help with data collection and analysis.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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