A community-based upper-extremity group exercise program improves motor function and performance of functional activities in chronic stroke: A randomized controlled trial

Marco Yiu Chung Pang, Jocelyn E. Harris, Janice J. Eng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

149 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To assess the effects of a community-based exercise program on motor recovery and functional abilities of the paretic upper extremity in persons with chronic stroke. Design: Randomized controlled trial. Setting: Rehabilitation research laboratory and a community hall. Participants: A sample of 63 people (<50y) with chronic deficits resulting from stroke (onset <1y). Interventions: The arm group underwent an exercise program designed to improve upper-extremity function (1h/session, 3 sessions/wk for 19wk). The leg group underwent a lower-extremity exercise program. Main Outcome Measures: The Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT), Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA), hand-held dynamometry (grip strength), and the Motor Activity Log. Results: Multivariate analysis showed a significant group by time interaction (Wilks λ=.726, P=.017), indicating that overall, the arm group had significantly more improvement than the leg group. Post hoc analysis demonstrated that gains in WMFT (functional ability) (P=.001) and FMA (P=.001) scores were significantly higher in the arm group. The amount of improvement was comparable to other novel treatment approaches such as constraint-induced movement therapy or robot-aided exercise training previously reported in chronic stroke. Participants with moderate arm impairment benefited more from the program. Conclusions: The pilot study showed that a community-based exercise program can improve upper-extremity function in persons with chronic stroke. This outcome justifies a larger clinical trial to further assess efficacy and cost effectiveness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Arm
  • Cerebrovascular accident
  • Exercise
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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