New Task-Oriented Exercise Program Aims to Improve Function Post-Stroke

University of Toronto professor Dr. Nancy Salbach is working to increase access to community-based task-oriented exercise programs through healthcare-recreation partnerships.

Ambulatory stroke survivors who are discharged from the hospital often lack affordable physical therapy resources, which can hinder their ability to continue recovering at home.

University of Toronto professor Dr. Nancy Salbach is determined to find a solution to this problem, and the Heart & Stroke Foundation is eager to support her efforts.

Dr. Salbach and her colleagues have received a grant from the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada. The grant will enable Dr. Salbach to evaluate the feasibility of conducting a randomized controlled trial, in small and large urban centres, designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a 12-week group task-oriented community exercise program. This trial will compare the program to usual healthcare in improving everyday function in people with stroke. It will target balance and mobility, and create a healthcare-recreation partnership that is unique compared to typical post-stroke care.

An elderly woman doing stability exercises on a stability ball with her physical therapist

In this partnership, hospital-based physical therapists will train and support fitness instructors to deliver the exercise program in recreation centres. The group exercise program is called the “Together in Movement and Exercise”, or TIMETM program, developed by Jo-Anne Howe, Kathy Salisbury and Karen Brunton, all physical therapists at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network.


“The TIMETM program will provide function-focused exercises such as walking, lunging, bending and reaching, step-ups and sit to stand movements, enhancing patients’ abilities to perform everyday tasks that require balance and mobility. Our goal is to provide accessible, affordable and effective exercise options for people recovering from stroke.” -Dr. Salbach

Headshot Nancy Salbach

Dr. Nancy Salbach