Acute Effects of Assisted Cycling Therapy on Post-Stroke Motor Function: A Pilot Study

Simon D. Holzapfel, Pamela R. Bosch, Chong D. Lee, Patricia S. Pohl, Monica Szeto, Brittany Heyer, Shannon D. Ringenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background. Stroke is the most common cause of long-term disability in the United States (US). Assisted Cycling Therapy (ACT) at cadences of about 80 rpm has been associated with improvements in motor and clinical function in other clinical populations. The acute effects of ACT on motor function of persons with stroke have not been investigated. Objectives. The primary purpose of this cross-over trial was to compare the effects of ACT, voluntary cycling (VC), and no cycling (NC) on upper (Box and Blocks Test) and lower extremity motor function (Lower Extremity Motor Coordination Test) in adults with chronic stroke (age: 60 ± 16 years; months since stroke: 96 ± 85). The secondary purpose was to examine average cycling cadence and ratings of perceived exertion as predictors of change in motor function following the exercise session. Methods. Twenty-two participants (female = 6, male = 16) completed one 20-min session each of ACT (mean cadence = 79.5 rpm, VC (mean cadence = 51.5 rpm), and NC on separate days in quasi-counterbalanced fashion). Results. Main effects of intervention did not differ between ACT and VC. Within-intervention analyses revealed significant (p < 0.05) pre- to posttest changes in all outcome measures for ACT but only in the Lower Extremity Motor Coordination Test on the non-paretic side for VC. Trend analyses revealed a positive relationship between average ACT cadences and improvements in upper and lower extremity motor function (p < 0.05). A positive relationship between average VC cadences and lower extremity function was also revealed (p < 0.05). Conclusion. ACT and VC produced similar acute improvements in paretic and non-paretic lower extremity motor function whereas changes in upper extremity motor function were more limited. Faster cycling cadences seem to be associated with greater acute effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9028714
JournalRehabilitation Research and Practice
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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