Thomas Colletti, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA
Because of the limited availability and access to pulmonary rehabilitation programs, research has previously investigated the effects of exercise alone on the well-being of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Most studies have small sample sizes with varying results. Meta-analyses have also shown conflicting results. The studies' exercise type, duration, and control group vary significantly. Exercise interventions assessed include combined group, resistance, walking, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and traditional Asian exercises. In combined aerobic and resistance programs, meta-analyses showed improvement in quality of life (QOL) despite some negative randomized controlled trials (RCT). HIIT was found to improve QOL in one meta-analysis. Conflicting results were seen in resistance training with a meta-analysis favoring treatment in contrast to a single RCT. Walking programs improved QOL in individual studies. Cycle ergometry and water aerobics improved QOL based on a limited number of available studies. Meta-analyses for traditional Asian exercises showed conflicting results for improvement in QOL. Patients should be educated when exercise is prescribed that quality of life improvement may be seen with some exercises, but they should have realistic expectations. Additional research is needed to assess whether any exercise can improve the quality of life of COPD patients when added to the standard of care.
Bastible BC. The Effects of Exercise on Quality of Life in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science. 2022; 4(4).
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