To evaluate the effects of a progressive resistance strength training program on changes in muscle strength, gait, and balance in older individuals 1 yr after stroke, seven individuals were recruited who were greater than 60-yr-old, 1 yr after stroke, living at home, and able to follow verbal commands.
Subjects participated in a 12-wk 2× per wk resistance training program at 70% of 1 repetition maximum.
Lower limb strength improved 68% on the affected side and 48% on the intact side during training, with the largest increases observed for hip extension (affected side: 88%, P < 0.01; intact side: 103%, P < 0.001). Repeated chair stand time decreased 21% (P < 0.02). Motor performance assessed by the Motor Assessment Scale improved 9% (P < 0.04) and static and dynamic balance (Berg balance scale) improved 12% (P < 0.004). Progressive resistance training in individuals 1 yr after stroke improves affected and intact side lower limb strength and was associated with gains in chair stand time, balance, and motor performance.
These results support the concept that strength training is an appropriate intervention to improve the quality of physical function in older community dwelling stroke survivors.