Effects of combined aerobic and resistance exercise on central arterial stiffness and gait velocity in patients with chronic poststroke hemiparesis.

OBJECTIVE: The effects of combined aerobic and resistance exercise training on central arterial stiffness and gait velocity in patients with chronic poststroke hemiparesis were investigated. DESIGN: Twenty-six patients with chronic poststroke hemiparesis were randomly assigned to either the combined aerobic and resistance exercise group (n = 14) or the control group (n = 12). The exercise intervention group received a combined aerobic and resistance exercise training (1 hr/day, three times/week for 16 wks), whereas the control group received usual care. Central arterial stiffness was determined by pulse wave velocity and augmentation index. Gait velocity was assessed using the 6-min walk test, 10-m walk test, and the Timed Up-and-Go test. RESULTS: Patients in the exercise intervention group had greater improvement of mean pulse wave velocity (P < 0.001), augmentation index (P = 0.048), and gait velocity (6-min walk test, P < 0.001; 10-m walk test, P < 0.001) than did patients in the control group. Patients in the exercise intervention group also had greater improvements in physical fitness component (grip strength, P < 0.001; muscular strength of upper and lower limbs, P < 0.027; flexibility, P < 0.001) when compared with control patients. CONCLUSIONS: The combined aerobic and resistance exercise program significantly reduced central arterial stiffness and increased gait velocity in patients with chronic poststroke hemiparesis.