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The effects of an aerobic and resistance exercise training program on cognition following stroke


Marzolini, S., Oh, P., McIlroy, W., Brooks, D.


Neurorehabilitation And Neural Repair, Volume: 27, No.: 5, Pages.: 392-402

Year of Publication



Background: Cognitive benefits obtained from exercise in healthy populations support the idea that aerobic and resistance training (AT+RT) would confer benefit for poststroke recovery. However, there is little evidence regarding the effectiveness of such programs.; Objective: To evaluate the effects of a 6-month exercise program of AT+RT on cognition in consecutively enrolled patients with motor impairments ≥10 weeks poststroke.; Methods: Outcomes were measured before and after 6 months of AT+RT on 41 patients. Cognition was measured by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Secondary measures included evaluation of gas exchange anaerobic threshold (ATge), body composition by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, and depressive symptoms by questionnaire.; Results: There were significant improvements in overall MoCA scores (22.5 ± 4.5 to 24.0 ± 3.9, P < .001) as well as in the subdomains of attention/concentration (4.7 ± 1.7 to 5.2 ± 1.3, P = .03) and visuospatial/executive function (3.4 ± 1.1 to 3.9 ± 1.1, P = .002). There was a significant reduction in the proportion of patients meeting the threshold criteria for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) at baseline compared with posttraining (65.9% vs 36.6%, P < .001). In a linear regression model, there was a positive association between change in cognitive function and change in fat-free mass of the nonaffected limbs (β = .002; P = .005) and change in attention/concentration and change in ATge (β = .383; P ≤ .001), independent of age, sex, time from stroke, and change in fat mass and depression score.; Conclusion: A combined training model (AT+RT) resulted in improvements in cognitive function and a reduction in the proportion of patients meeting the threshold criteria for MCI. Change in cognition was positively associated with change in fat-free mass and ATge.;

Bibtex Citation

@article{Marzolini_2012, doi = {10.1177/1545968312465192}, url = {}, year = 2012, month = {nov}, publisher = {{SAGE} Publications}, volume = {27}, number = {5}, pages = {392--402}, author = {S. Marzolini and P. Oh and W. McIlroy and D. Brooks}, title = {The Effects of an Aerobic and Resistance Exercise Training Program on Cognition Following Stroke}, journal = {Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair} }


absorptiometry photon, aerobic exercise, aged, anaerobic threshold, body composition, cognition, cognition disorders, complications, electrocardiography, etiology, exercise, female, humans, male, methods, middle aged, muscle strength, neuropsychological tests, physiology, pulmonary gas exchange, recovery of function, rehabilitation, resistance training, stroke, treatment outcome, walking

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Type of Outcomes


Type of Interventions

Non-pharmacological Treatment, Risk Factor Modification

Risk Factor Modifications

At risk population

Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions

Exercise (inc. dancing)