Effects of isolated cycle ergometer training on patients with moderate-to-severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Respiration. 2004 Sep-Oct;71(5):477-83. doi: 10.1159/000080632.


Background: Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programs are beneficial to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lower-extremity training is considered a fundamental component of PR. Nevertheless, the isolated effects of each PR component are not well established.

Objective: We aimed to evaluate the effects of a cycle ergometry exercise protocol as the only intervention in a group of COPD patients, and to compare these results with a control group.

Methods: 25 moderate-to-severe COPD patients were evaluated regarding pulmonary function, respiratory muscle strength, exercise capacity, quality of life and body composition. Patients were allocated to one of two groups: (a) the trained group (TG; n = 13; 6 men) was submitted to a protocol of 24 exercise sessions on a cycle ergometer, with training intensity initially set at a heart rate (HR) close to 80% of maximal HR achieved in a maximal test, and load increase based on dyspnea scores, and (b) the control group (CG; n = 12; 6 men) with no intervention during the protocol period.

Results: TG showed within-group significant improvements in endurance cycling time, 6-min walking distance test, maximal inspiratory pressure and in the domain 'dyspnea' related to quality of life. Despite the within-group changes, no between-group significant differences were observed.

Conclusion: In COPD patients, the results of isolated low-to-moderate intensity cycle ergometer training are not comparable to effects of multimodality and high-intensity training programs.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bicycling*
  • Body Composition
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Inhalation
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Physical Endurance
  • Pressure
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking