Increasing time spent engaging in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity by community-dwelling adults following a transient ischemic attack or non-disabling stroke: a systematic review
Purpose: The risk of recurrent stroke following a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or non-disabling stroke is high. Clinical guidelines recommend this patient population accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each week to reduce the risk of recurrent stroke. We aimed to identify interventions that increase time adults spend in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity following TIA or non-disabling stroke.Method: We searched thirteen databases for articles of secondary prevention interventions reporting outcomes for duration in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity or exercise capacity.Results: Eight trials were identified (n = 2653). Of these, three (n = 198) reported changes in time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Only one trial (n = 70), reported significant change in time spent engaging in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (between-group difference: 11.7 min/day [95% CI 4.07-19.33]) when comparing participation in a six-month exercise education intervention to usual care. No trial measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity after intervention end.Conclusion: Despite recommendations to participate in regular physical activity at moderate-to-vigorous intensity for secondary stroke prevention, there is very little evidence for effective interventions for this patient population. There is need for clinically feasible interventions that result in long-term participation in physical activity in line with clinical guidelines. Trial registration: Protocol registration: PROSPERO CRD42018092840Implications for rehabilitationThere is limited evidence of the effectiveness of interventions that aim to increase time spent engaging in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) for people following a TIA or non-disabling stroke.A program comprising aerobic and resistance exercises ≥2 per week, supervised by a health professional (supplemented with a home program) over at least 24 weeks appears to be effective in assisting people adhere to recommended levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity after TIA or non-disabling stroke.Secondary prevention programs which include health professional supervised exercise sessions contribute to better adherence to physical activity guidelines; didactic sessions alone outlining frequency and intensity are unlikely to be sufficient.