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In this paper, I argue that physical activity in the form of exercise provides wonderful health benefits for individuals with chronic stroke but fails to also reduce the wider effects of disability for these individuals. The argument proceeds first with a definition of terms, including the classification framework of health and disability according to the World Health Organization. Next follows a section on stroke, its prevalence, and major motor symptoms, including health status. The subsequent two sections include evidence for the health benefits of exercise and lack of evidence for the reduction of disability. The penultimate section expands upon the direction of research that should move us toward reducing disability. The final section concludes on how kinesiology fits into a model for improving both health and reducing disability for chronic stroke survivors.
Whitall is with the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD.