Bone and Joint Institute

Document Type


Publication Date



Journal of rehabilitation medicine





First Page


URL with Digital Object Identifier



OBJECTIVE: To determine whether there are differences in exercise-associated changes in cognitive func-tion between males and females living with stroke. DESIGN: Secondary analysis of data from a prospective assessor-blinded randomized controlled trial. PARTICIPANTS: Fifty participants (50-80 years, > 1 year post-stroke, able to walk ≥ 5 m). METHODS: Participants were allocated into a 6-month aerobic exercise programme (14 males, 11 females) or balance and flexibility programme (15 males, 10 females). Working memory (Verbal Digit Span Backwards Test), selective attention and conflict resolution (Stroop Colour-Word Test), and set shifting/cognitive flexibility (Trail-Making Test B) were assessed before and after the programmes. RESULTS: There was a group × time interaction in females (effect size 0.28, p = 0.03), which was not observed in males (effect size 0.01, p = 0.62). Females demonstrated a Stroop Colour-Word Interference test change of -2.3 s, whereas males demonstrated a change of +5.5 s following aerobic exercise. There were no differences between exercise groups in either sex for any of the other outcomes (working memory and set-shifting/cognitive flexibility). CONCLUSION: Females living with stroke may demonstrate a greater response to exercise on selective attention and conflict resolution compared with males with stroke. These findings suggest that there may be sex-specific effects of exercise on cognitive func-tion in individuals with stroke.


This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC license. Journal Compilation © 2020 Foundation of Rehabilitation Information.

This article was originally published as:

Khattab, S., Eng, J. J., Liu-Ambrose, T., Richardson, J. MacDermid, J. C., & Tang, A. (2020) Sex differences in the effects of exercise on cognition post-stroke: Secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial. J Rehabil Med, 52(1), jrm00002. DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2615

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Find in your library



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.