If you work with stroke survivors, speed walking after a stroke will help them get a step ahead.
New research shows that stroke survivors who progress to walking a little faster are also more likely to improve their ability to perform cognitive tasks as they walk, according to a study published in Clinical Rehabilitation (2021; doi:10.1177/02692155211017360). “These findings show that, for those who walk slowly, initially focusing on improving their walking speed may increase their capacity to improve dual-task walking,” said lead study author Johnny Collett, PhD, senior clinical research fellow at Oxford Brookes University in England.
Scientists theorize that a faster walking speed is more cyclical and automatic and requires less independent thought than slowly taking one step at a time. This better allows for concurrent performance of cognitive tasks.
Brain imaging of study participants showed that those who walked at a faster pace had more automatic control of walking. That’s important because dual tasking while walking promotes functional freedom. To walk safely, it’s essential to be able to notice and deal with distractions.
See also: Stroke Recovery Training
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