Physical inactivity after stroke: Incidence and early predictors based on 190 individuals in a 1-year follow-up of the fall study of Gothenburg


  • Sara Botö Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Rehabilitation Medicine, Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • Dongni Buvarp
  • Per-Olof Hansson
  • Katharina S. Sunnerhagen
  • Carina U. Persson



stroke, physical activity, rehabilitation


Objective: To determine the incidence of physical inactivity and factors prior to stroke and in acute stroke that are associated with physical inactivity 1 year after stroke

Design: Prospective longitudinal cohort

Patients: A total of 190 consecutively included individuals with acute stroke

Methods: A follow-up questionnaire, relating to physical activity level using the Saltin-Grimby Physical Activity Scale, was sent to participants in the Fall Study of Gothenburg 1 year after stroke. Predictors of physical inactivity at baseline were identified using univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses.

Results: Physical inactivity 1 year after stroke was reported by 70 (37%) of the 190 patients who answered the questionnaire and was associated with physical inactivity before the stroke, odds ratio (OR) 4.07 (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.69–9.80, p = 0.002); stroke severity (assessed by National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), score 1–4), OR 2.65 (95% CI) 1.04–6.80, p = 0.042) and fear of falling in acute stroke, OR 2.37 (95% CI 1.01–5.60, p = 0.048).

Conclusion: Almost 4 in 10 participants reported physical inactivity 1 year after stroke. Physical inactivity before the stroke, stroke severity and fear of falling in acute stroke are the 3 main factors that predict physical inactivity 1 year after stroke.

Lay Abstract

After a stroke, there is a risk of becoming physically inactive, which could affect one’s health. In order to create a rehabilitation plan with individualized preventive actions and interventions against physical inactivity, it is important, early after stroke onset, to identify patients who are at risk of becoming physically inactive. Previous studies of the early prediction of physical inactivity are few in number, with small sample sizes. This research on 190 individuals describes which factors prior to and in acute stroke (which is the first week after stroke) are associated with physical inactivity 1 year after stroke. The results showed that physical inactivity before stroke, stroke severity, and a fear of falling in acute stroke are associated with physical inactivity 1 year after stroke.


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How to Cite

Botö, S., Buvarp, D., Hansson, P.-O., Sunnerhagen, K. S., & Persson, C. U. (2021). Physical inactivity after stroke: Incidence and early predictors based on 190 individuals in a 1-year follow-up of the fall study of Gothenburg. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 53(9 (September), jrm00224.



Original Report