Moderate intensity exercise training reverses functional aerobic impairment in HIV-infected individuals

AIDS Care. 2008 Oct;20(9):1066-74. doi: 10.1080/09540120701796900.


HIV infection and HIV drug therapies result in physical and psychological challenges to those living with HIV. These conditions contribute to decreased functional aerobic capacity (FAC). The aim of this study was to determine the effects of a combined moderate-intensity aerobic and resistance exercise intervention on the FAC of HIV-infected individuals. Forty HIV-infected individuals were randomized to an exercise group (EX) who completed six weeks of moderate-intensity exercise training, or to a control group (CON) that did not receive the exercise intervention. Twice weekly, the EX group completed 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic training followed by moderate-intensity resistance training. Prior to, and following, the intervention the FAC for each subject was determined by graded exercise treadmill stress test (GXT). At baseline testing, the mean FAC as determined by treadmill time-based estimation of maximal oxygen consumption was 25% below age-predicted values, a level of reduction indicating the presence of functional aerobic impairment (FAI). Following the intervention, the EX had a significant increase in time to fatigue and estimated VO(2) max (p<.001). Further, FAI was eliminated (1% above age predicted values) during the exercise training. The EX group also experienced decreased heart rates during Stages 1 (p=.02), 2 (p=.01), 4 (p=.05) and 6 (p=.02) of the GXT. The CON had no significant changes during the intervention period. These data indicate that six weeks of combined moderate-intensity aerobic and resistance training can improve FAC and eliminate FAI in those with HIV. Results suggest that the functional limitations common in HIV-infected individuals are due in part to detraining that is reversible through moderate exercise adherence.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • CD4-CD8 Ratio
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / physiopathology
  • HIV Infections / rehabilitation*
  • HIV-1
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Patient Compliance
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome