A group of researchers set out to determine if physical activity and exercise can improve fitness, mobility and functional capacity among adults with a lower-limb amputation as well as the type and minimum amount of physical activity (frequency, intensity and duration) needed.
Twenty-three studies of adults with a lower-limb amputation living in the local community were conducted.
Studies evaluated the effect of structured physical activity sessions on fitness, mobility and functional capacity. The highest evidence is for mixed exercise programs, i.e., programs combining aerobic exercise with strengthening or balance exercise. There is moderate confidence that one to three sessions of 20 to 60 minutes of exercise per week improves balance, walking speed, walking endurance, and transfer ability in adults with amputations above the ankle. As for flexibility, cardiorespiratory health, lower-limb muscles strength, and functional capacity, there was low confidence that exercise improves these fitness components due to the lack of studies.
Exercise one to three times per week may improve balance, walking speed, walking endurance, and transfer ability in adults with lower-limb amputations, especially when combining aerobic exercises with lowerlimb strengthening or balance exercises, the studies found.
There is a need for most robust studies focusing on the effect of physical activity on cardiorespiratory health, muscles strength, flexibility, and functional status, the researchers concluded.
The study “Do exercise programs improve fitness, mobility and functional capacity in adults with lower limb amputation? A systematic review on the type and minimal dose needed’’ was published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.