Funding received from CaSTOR (Canadian Stroke Trials for Optimized Results), a joint initiative of CPSR and the Canadian Stroke Consortium, helped a Montreal-based research team secure a $394K grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Dr. Marc Roig of McGill University will lead the first study to investigate the effects of high intensity interval training on brain plasticity and cardiovascular health in people living with stroke. “I am very thankful for the support we have been receiving from CPSR,” Dr. Roig said after receiving the award.
Lay description of the research project:
Participating in regular exercise is important for improving walking speed and endurance after stroke. Typically, cardiovascular exercise is performed at moderate intensities in a continuous manner, but if higher intensities can be reached, greater improvements in recovery and function may be achieved.
Intensity appears to be a key ingredient in exercise programs for improving both brain health and cardiovascular health. However, high intensity exercise may be challenging for people with stroke, especially if it needs to be sustained for long periods of time to achieve a training effect. It is important to find creative ways to help these individuals exercise at higher intensities that will lead to better recovery and health after stroke.
High-intensity interval training is a form of exercise that combines short bursts of intense exercise with periods of active recovery or rest. This type of exercise may be more feasible for individuals with stroke because high intensities do not need to be sustained for long periods of time since breaks are allowed.
High-intensity interval training has been shown to be safe and beneficial to many areas of health and function in healthy adults and people with heart disease. To date, only a few studies have examined the effects of high-intensity interval training in people living with stroke, and have mostly focused on improvements in walking ability.
Brain health and cardiovascular health are perhaps the two most important aspects to improve stroke recovery and to reduce the risk of future strokes, respectively. High intensity exercise has the potential to improve both of these areas. This will be the first study to investigate the effects of high intensity interval training on brain plasticity and cardiovascular health in people living with stroke.