Experiences of venue based exercise interventions for people with stroke in the UK: a systematic review and thematic synthesis of qualitative research

Rachel E. Young, David Broom, Karen Sage, Kay Crossland, Christine Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: The physical benefits of exercise following stroke are research evidenced and the UK stroke population is increasingly encouraged to engage with exercise interventions. A synthesis of qualitative research is required to further understand the perceived experience and psychosocial effect of exercise for people with stroke. Objectives: To provide a systematic search and synthesis of evidence about the experiences and reported impact of participation in venue based exercise following stroke in the UK. Data sources: Eligible studies were identified through a rigorous search of Medline, Cinahl, AMED, PsycINFO, SportDiscus, Proquest and ETHOS from January 2000 until December 2017. Study eligibility criteria: Full text qualitative studies or service evaluations conducted in the UK which explored the reported experience of venue based exercise amongst people with stroke. Study synthesis and appraisal: Included studies were evaluated through application of the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research. Data synthesis using a thematic approach generated descriptive and analytical themes. Results: Six research studies and one service evaluation met the inclusion criteria; methodological quality was variable. These studies highlighted that people with stroke gain confidence and renewed identity through exercise participation. Perceived improvements in physical function were reported and participants enjoyed stroke specific exercise programmes in de-medicalised venues. Limitations: The studies only accessed people who had completed the exercise programmes; non-completers were not represented. Conclusion: Venue based exercise programmes have a positive effect on perceived wellbeing following stroke. Further research into the reasons for discontinuation of exercise participation following stroke is required. Systematic Review Registration Number PROSPERO 2017:CRD42017072483.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-14
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiotherapy (United Kingdom)
Early online date14 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2021, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders. This document is the author’s post-print version, incorporating any revisions agreed during the peer-review process. Some differences between the published version and this version may remain and you are advised to consult the published version if you wish to cite from it.


  • Exercise
  • Qualitative
  • Stroke
  • Systematic review
  • Venue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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