The role of physical activity (PA) after stroke is increasingly recognised as important for function, fitness and wellbeing. Current evidence shows that targeted PA after stroke improves cardiovascular fitness, walking ability and muscle strength and may ameliorate depression and improve quality of life. Secondary stroke prevention and management of cardiovascular risk factors are further health benefits. Despite increasing emphasis on organised exercise classes for stroke, PA levels remain low and effects of organised exercise interventions are not maintained once programmes have finished. Barriers to PA after stroke are complex and innovative approaches to maintaining and promoting long-term engagement in activity are required. This commentary proposes that using the International Classification of Disability and Functioning (ICF) to guide thinking about PA after stroke may help us develop and apply comprehensive solutions that increase PA levels. This approach considers stroke survivors' PA engagement in terms of Body - the physical impairments imposed by stroke; Person - the role of identity, and psychological factors on PA; and Environment - the physical and social environments that influence PA engagement. The commentary discusses how innovative solutions addressing these issues may enable stroke survivors to be better supported to lead active lifestyles.
- physical activity
- International classification of functioning
- disability and health