Volume 49 Number 10, 2012
Pages 1537 — 1546
Abstract–It has been suggested that aerobic training should be considered in stroke rehabilitation programs to counteract detrimental health effects and decrease cardiovascular risk caused by inactivity. Robot-assisted treadmill exercise (using a Lokomat device) has the potential to increase the duration of walking therapy relative to conventional overground therapy. We investigated whether exercise intensity during Lokomat therapy is adequate to elicit a training effect and how assistance during walking in the Lokomat affects this exercise intensity. Ten patients with stroke (age 54 +/– 9 yr) walked in both the Lokomat and in a hallway. Furthermore, 10 nondisabled subjects (age 43 +/– 14 yr) walked in the Lokomat at various settings and on a treadmill at various speeds. During walking, oxygen consumption and heart rate were monitored. Results showed that for patients with stroke, exercise intensity did not reach recommended levels (30% heart rate reserve) for aerobic training during Lokomat walking. Furthermore, exercise intensity during walking in the Lokomat (9.3 +/– 1.6 mL/min/kg) was lower than during overground walking (10.4 +/– 1.3 mL/min/kg). Also, different settings of the Lokomat only had small effects on exercise intensity in nondisabled subjects.
Key words: aerobic training, exercise intensity, heart rate, hemiplegia, locomotor training, oxygen consumption, rehabilitation therapy, robot-assisted walking, stroke, walking.
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