Treadmill walking aids stroke recovery

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 15, 2008

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People who walk on a treadmill, even years after a stroke, can significantly improve their health and mobility, according to a new study. These changes reflect actual "rewiring" of their brains, said the researchers. The study is available online in Stroke, an American Heart Assn. journal.

Seventy-one patients were recruited for the study and the average time since their stroke was four years. Half of the group was randomly selected to walk on a treadmill three times a week for as long as 40 minutes at a time. The rest of the patients participated in stretching exercises.

After six months, those who had walked on the treadmill had increased walking speed by 51%, compared with about 11% for the stretching group. The treadmill walkers also showed increased metabolic activity in the brainstem area associated with walking, while the stretching group did not.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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