Brain Inj. 2016 Jul 28:1-7. [Epub ahead of print]
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Effects of high-intensity exercise on endurance, mobility and gait speed of adults with chronic moderate-to-severe acquired brain injury (ABI) were investigated. It was hypothesized that intensive exercise would be associated with improvements in impairment and activity limitation measures.
PARTICIPANTS: Fourteen adults with chronic ABI in supported independent living who could stand with minimal or no assist and walk with or without ambulation device were studied. Eight presented with low ambulatory status.
METHODS: This was a single group pre- and post-intervention study. Participants received a 6-week exercise intervention for 60-90 minutes, 3 days/week assisted by personal trainers under physical therapist supervision. Measures (6MWT, HiMAT and 10MWT) were collected at baseline, post-intervention and 6 weeks later. Repeated measures T-test and Wilcoxon Signed Ranks test were used.
RESULTS: Post-intervention improvements were achieved on average on all three measures, greater than minimal detectable change (MDC) for this population. Three participants transitioned from low-to-high ambulatory status and maintained the change 6 weeks later.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: People with chronic ABI can improve endurance, demonstrate the ability to do advanced gait and improve ambulatory status with 6 weeks of intensive exercise. Challenges to sustainability of exercise programmes for this population remain.