More than 30% of people with a new stroke remain impaired in activities of daily living. Some recent studies have indicated improvements in speed and physical strength after physical fitness training in stroke survivors. This study aims to determine the efficiency and safety of aerobic exercise in the daily life activities of stroke survivors.

This is a multicenter, controlled, randomized, and endpoint-blinded trial conducted across seven inpatient rehabilitation sites in Germany. The study included a total of 200 adults who experienced a subacute stroke in the last 5-45 days. The participants were randomly assigned to aerobic physical fitness training (n=105) and relaxation sessions (n=95). Physical fitness training included weight training, treadmill training, and cardiovascular exercises. The primary outcome of the study was a change in maximal walking capacity.

The physical fitness training group did not undergo a significantly higher mean change in maximal walking speed than the control group. Aerobic physical fitness exercises were associated with a higher rate of adverse events than the control groups.

The research concluded that aerobic physical fitness training among adults with severe subacute stroke did not significantly impact maximum walking speed compared with relaxation sessions. Physical fitness training was also associated with a higher risk of adverse events.