Motta (2013) The Effects of Aquatic and Land-based Exercise on Balance and Gait in People Post Stroke

Introduction to Post-Stroke Rehabilitation

Stroke is a leading cause of disability worldwide, often resulting in significant impairments in balance, gait, and overall mobility. Rehabilitation is crucial for stroke survivors to regain independence and improve quality of life. Exercise therapy plays a vital role in this process, with aquatic and land-based exercises being commonly employed modalities. This summary delves into the comparative effectiveness of these two approaches in enhancing balance and gait in individuals post-stroke.

Aquatic Exercise and Stroke Rehabilitation

Aquatic exercise, characterized by activities performed in water, leverages buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, and resistance to facilitate movement. The unique properties of water reduce the fear of falling and the impact on joints, making it an appealing option for stroke survivors with balance and mobility challenges. The warmth and resistance of water can also aid in muscle relaxation and strengthening, potentially enhancing rehabilitation outcomes.

Land-Based Exercise for Stroke Recovery

Land-based exercise, on the other hand, involves traditional rehabilitation exercises performed on solid ground. This can include strength training, balance exercises, and gait training. Land-based therapy is fundamental in retraining walking patterns and improving muscular strength and endurance, essential components for functional mobility and independence post-stroke.

Comparative Efficacy in Improving Balance and Gait

The efficacy of aquatic versus land-based exercise in post-stroke rehabilitation is a subject of ongoing research. Both modalities have shown promise in improving balance and gait parameters. Aquatic exercises may offer a safer environment for early-stage rehabilitation due to reduced fall risk, while land-based exercises are critical for retraining specific walking and balance functions in a real-world context.

Future Directions in Stroke Rehabilitation Research

Further research is needed to establish clear guidelines on the optimal timing, intensity, and progression of aquatic and land-based exercises in stroke rehabilitation. Personalized rehabilitation programs that consider the individual’s specific deficits, preferences, and goals are likely to yield the best outcomes.


Both aquatic and land-based exercises play crucial roles in the rehabilitation of stroke survivors. The choice between these modalities should be guided by the individual’s specific needs, rehabilitation stage, and personal preferences, ensuring a holistic and patient-centered approach to recovery.

Keywords: stroke rehabilitation, aquatic exercise, land-based exercise, balance, gait, recover

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