(NEW YORK) — Heading outside for a brisk walk can improve your quality of life. According to a new study released Thursday, stroke victims could have a lot to gain from walking for exercise.
For the study, published in the journal Stroke, researchers at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica looked at nearly 130 people who had suffered from strokes — all of them able to walk with or without an assistive device — and who were not participating in any regular exercise programs. The subjects were randomized into two groups, an intervention group and a control group, with assessments done at six weeks and three months.
The intervention group was supervised by trained instructors and walked vigorously along a prescribed course for 15 minutes, three times a week, adding five minutes each week until they reached a half hour. The control group received massage therapy.
After three months, those who walked regularly reported a 16.7 percent improvement in quality of life and also walked nearly 20 percent farther in an endurance test than their massaged counterparts.
The study’s authors say their findings suggest that aerobic walking should be part of a stroke survivor’s overall health promotion strategy.
“Walking is a great way to get active after a stroke,” lead study author Carron Gordon, Ph.D., said in a statement. “It’s familiar, inexpensive and it’s something people could very easily get into.”
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