Research Reports - Independent, community-based aerobic exercise training for people with traumatic brain injury

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2016 May 20. pii: S0003-9993(16)30154-X. doi:
10.1016/j.apmr.2016.04.015. [Epub ahead of print]

Devine JM, Wong B, Gervino E, Pascual-Leone A, Alexander MP.

OBJECTIVE: To determine if people with moderate-to-severe TBI can adhere to a
minimally supervised, community-based vigorous aerobic exercise program.
DESIGN: Prospective trial.
SETTING: Eastern Massachusetts YMCA facilities.
PARTICIPANTS: Ten community-dwelling volunteers (8 men, 2 women; ages 22-49) 6-15
months post moderate-to-severe TBI.
INTERVENTION: Participants received memberships to local YMCAs and brief
orientations to exercise, then were asked to independently complete ≥ 12 weeks of
≥ 3 training sessions/week, performed at 65-85% of maximum heart rate for ≥ 30
minutes per session. Participants could self-select exercise modality, provided
they met intensity/duration targets. Programmable heart rate monitors captured
session intensity/duration.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Independence with equipment/facility use, compliance with
training goals (session frequency, duration, intensity and total weeks of
training).
RESULTS: All participants achieved independence with equipment/facility use. All
met at least 2 of 4 training goals; half met all 4 goals. Participants averaged
3.3 sessions/week (SD +/- 0.7) for 13 weeks (range 6 - 24). Average session
duration was 62 minutes (SD +/- 23), of which 51 minutes (SD +/- 22) occurred at
or above individual HR training targets.
CONCLUSIONS: People in recovery from moderate-to-severe TBI can, with minimal
guidance, perform vigorous, community-based exercise. This suggests decentralized
exercise may be logistically and economically sustainable after TBI, expanding
its potential therapeutic utility and rendering longer duration exercise studies
more feasible. 

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