Turkish Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2011 , Vol 57 , Num 1

Effects of Long-Term Aerobic Exercise Program in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Candan Öğüş 1 ,N. Füsun Toraman 2 ,Özgür Nalbant 3 ,Hakan Nur 4
1 Akdeniz Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi, Göğüs Hastalıkları Anabilim Dalı, Antalya, Türkiye
2 Antalya Eğitim ve Arafltırma Hastanesi, Fizik Tedavi ve Rehabilitasyon Kliniği, Antalya, Türkiye
3 Akdeniz Üniversitesi, Beden Eğitimi ve Spor Yüksekokulu, Antalya, Türkiye
4 Antalya Education and Research Hospital, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Antalya, Turkey
DOI : 10.4274/tftr.57.02

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a 6-month period of aerobic training in elderly patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


Materials and Methods: Twenty-nine patients with moderate to severe COPD (stage II and III) were randomized to either an aerobic training group or a control group. Lower extremity muscle strength, 6-minute walking distance and pulmonary function tests were measured at baseline, third month and after the training program. Twenty-one patients completed the study: 10 patients in the aerobic training group and 11 patients in the control group.


Results: At the end of six months, the aerobic training group demonstrated significant improvements in lower extremity muscle strength and forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory flow 25-75% (FEF25-75%), peak expiratory flow (PEF) of pulmonary function tests (p<0.016) compared to baseline, while no significant improvements were observed in the control group (p>0.016). At the third month, when comparing the two groups, a significant difference was found in favour of the exercise group for PEF. The increase in lower extremity muscle strength, 6-minute walking distance and pulmonary function tests (FVC, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, FEF25-75% and PEF) were significantly greater in the aerobic training group compared to the control group at the end of the sixth month (p<0.05).


Conclusion: A six-month period of aerobic training can lead to significant improvement in lower extremity muscle strength, functional exercise capacity and pulmonary function in elderly patients with COPD. These improvements are considerably more apparent especially after the third month. It is concluded that such exercise programs should be planned in longer terms. 

Keywords : Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, aerobic exercise, pulmonary functio