Aerobic exercise training improves autonomic nervous control in patients with COPD.

Borghi-Silva A, Arena R, Castello V, Simões RP, Martins LE, Catai AM, Costa D

The purpose of the present investigation is to assess the effects of a 6-week aerobic exercise training program on autonomic modulation of heart rate in patients with COPD. Forty patients of both sexes with moderate-to-severe COPD were randomly allocated to aerobic exercise training or to usual care. The training program consisted of lower and upper limb stretching and 30min of treadmill exercise, 3 times per week for a 6-week period. Physiological data during symptom-limited exercise testing and the six-minute walk test (6MWT) were assessed.

The results showed that neural control of heart rate, in addition to other clinically valuable measures, is positively altered in moderate-severe COPD patients following 6 weeks of aerobic exercise training. The improvement in submaximal performance after exercise training was associated with parasympathetic activity.

Respir Medicine, 2009 May 21, online article ahead of print

Link to abstract

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