Table of Contents
ISRN Stroke
Volume 2013, Article ID 464176, 13 pages
Review Article

Physical Activity after Stroke: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

1University of Edinburgh, Room S1642, Royal Infirmary, Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4SA, UK
2University of Antwerp, Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Wilrijk, Antwerp, Belgium
3Queen Margaret University, Queen Margaret University Drive, Musselburgh EH21 6UU, UK

Received 17 June 2013; Accepted 7 July 2013

Academic Editors: H. McNaughton and C. Zweifel

Copyright © 2013 Matthew J. Field et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background and Purpose. Physical activity is beneficial after stroke, but it is unclear how active stroke survivors are. This systematic review and meta-analysis sought to determine levels of activity and factors predicting activity. Summary of Review: Methods. MEDLINE (1946 to present) and EMBASE (1980 to present) were systematically searched until July 2012. All studies quantifying whole-body-free living physical activity by objective and self-reported methods in a community dwelling population with stroke were included. A random effect meta-analysis was performed. Results. Twenty-six studies were included ( ), of which eleven ( ) contained sufficient data for meta-analysis. There were heterogeneous designs, measurements, and procedures. The studies generally recruited small samples of high-functioning participants. Level of physical activity was generally low in quantity, duration and intensity. Poorer walking ability, specific sensorimotor functions, and low mood were correlates of low physical activity. Meta-analysis generated an estimate of 4355.2 steps/day (95% CI: 3210.4 to 5499.9) with no significant heterogeneity ( = 0). Conclusions. In high-functioning stroke survivors, physical activity including walking was generally low. Strategies are needed to promote and maintain physical activity in stroke survivors. Research is needed to establish reasons for low physical activity after stroke.