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Objectives: To explore factors from the acute phase, and after three and 12 months, associated with level of self-reported physical activity 12 months after a minor ischemic stroke with National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score ≤ 3 in persons 70 years or younger.
Materials and method: In this longitudinal cohort study patients were recruited consecutively from two stroke units. Activity level were measured with three sets of questions addressing the average number of frequency (times exercising each week), the average intensity, and duration (the average time), and a sum score was constructed. The association between physical activity 12 months after stroke and sociodemographic factors, NIHSS, body mass index, balance, and neuropsychiatric symptoms were explored using multiple linear regression.
Results: This study included 101 patients, with mean age (SD) 55.5 (11.4) years, NIHSS median (Q1, Q3) 0.0 (0.0, 1.0), and 20 % were female. Multiple linear regression analyses showed sick leave status at stroke onset, balance at three and 12 months, and anxiety, depression, apathy, and fatigue at 12 months to be factors associated with physical activity at 12 months after stroke.
Conclusion: We found that pre-stroke sick leave, post-stroke balance, and neuropsychiatric symptoms were associated with the level of physical activity one year after minor stroke. This might be of importance when giving information about physical activity and deciding about post-stroke follow-up.