gms | German Medical Science

Physical activity and successful aging
10th International EGREPA Conference

European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity

14.09. - 16.09.2006 in Köln

Adapted physical activity in the follow-up of stroke patients. A randomised controlled trial.

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author B. Langhammer - Oslo University College, Norway
  • B. Lindmark - Uppsala University Hospital, Sweden
  • J.K. Stanghelle - Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital, Norway

Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa093

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: December 18, 2006

© 2006 Langhammer et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background and purpose

Time spent in the stroke unit is increasingly shorter, leaving a gap between the first intensive rehabilitation period and the rest of life post stroke. The objective of this study was to investigate if motor function, ADL and grip strength was better maintained with one of two different strategies of physical exercises in first-time ever stroke patients during the first year.


A longitudinal randomised controlled stratified trial of 75 first-time-ever stroke patients: 35 in an intervention group (IG) and 40 in a regular training group (RG). Of these, 63 patients completed the trial. The IG patients had regular physiotherapy with focus on intensive exercises during four periods during the first year post stroke. The RG patients were followed-up according to their experienced needs during the corresponding year. Main outcome measures were Motor Assessment Scale (MAS), Barthel ADL index (BI) and grip strength (Martin vigorimeter). Tests were performed five times during that year. Results were analysed in an SPSS programme version 13. Descriptive statistics were used to summarise demographic, stroke and baseline characteristics. All analyses were performed on an intention-to-treat basis. Means, medians and standard deviations (SD) were calculated for each clinical test. A general linear model, with a univariate analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed, using baseline to one year change as dependent variable on each of the scores of MAS, BI, and grip strength respectively, with treatment group as a primary factor and age and gender as covariates. In addition differences in improvement were calculated for total score on MAS, BI and grip strength and analysed in the same manner. The significance level was set at <0.05.


The difference in improvement from admission to discharge was significant, in favour of the IG in the MAS total score, in four out of eight MAS sub-scores, in the BI total score, and in five of ten BI sub-scores. There were no significant differences between the results of the two groups on any of the other test occasions. Within groups there were a significant improvements in MAS, BI and grip strength from admission to three months. Thereafter, no significant changes were found up to one year post stroke.


Surprisingly motor function, ADL function and grip strength maintained the initial improvement and even improved further during the first year post-stroke in both groups, probably indicating the importance of motivation for regular exercise in the first year following stroke, with the aid of a compulsory exercise programme or only regular check-ups.