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Facilitating Exercise Engagement Among Community Dwelling Stroke Survivors: Is A Once Per Week Group Session Sufficient?

Nor Azlin Mohd Nordin, Nor Asma Husna Yusoff, Devinder Kaur Ajit Singh

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Although exercise is proven as an effective strategy to combat post-stroke complications and the risk of stroke recurrence, many stroke survivors fail to engage in this activity following rehabilitation. In this study, we assessed the feasibility and usefulness of a low-frequency group exercise to determine its suitability as an approach to facilitate exercise engagement among stroke survivors. Forty-one stroke survivors, mean (SD) age 59.34 (10.02) years, mean time post-stroke 17.13 (17.58) months, completed a 90 minute, once per week, group exercise supervised by therapists for 12 weeks. The exercise outcomes were measured using standardized clinical tests. We observed improvement in the group’s physical performance; balance score by 3 units (Z = −3.88, p < 0.001), speed of repetitive sit to stand by 3.4 s (Z = −4.69, p < 0.001), and walking speed by 8.22 m/min (Z = −3.25, p < 0.001). Scores of seven out of 14 Berg’s balance scale items increased significantly, indicating better balance ability among the survivors. In conclusion, a 12-week, once per week group exercise session seems feasible and sufficient to improve the physical performance of community dwelling stroke survivors. This exercise arrangement may be offered to stroke survivors to facilitate exercise practice following rehabilitation.