Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients have lower levels of physical activity compared to age-matched controls, and they limit physical activities requiring normal exertion. Our purpose was to compare the effectiveness of a traditional exercise therapy (TET) program with a behavioral lifestyle activity program (LAP) in promoting physical activity.
Methods: Moderate physical activity (kcal/week) was assessed in 176 COPD patients using the Community Health Activities Model for Seniors questionnaire. Patients were randomized to either a three month TET program that meet thrice weekly or a LAP. The LAP was designed to teach behavioral skills that encouraged the daily accumulation of self-selected physical activities of at least moderate intensity. Interventionist contact was similar (36 h) between the two groups. Patients were assessed at baseline and 3, 6 and 12 months.
Results: Compared to baseline values, self-reported moderate physical activity increased three months post-randomization with no significant difference (p = 0.99) found between the TET (2501 +/- 197 kcal/week) and the LAP (2498 +/- 211 kcal/week). At 6 and 12 months post-randomization, there were no significant differences (p = 0.37 and 0.69, respectively) in self-reported levels of moderate physical activity between the TET (2210 +/- 187 and 2213 +/- 218 kcal/week, respectively) and the LAP (2456 +/- 198 and 2342 +/- 232 kcal/week, respectively).
Conclusion: Although there was no difference between treatment groups, the TET and the LAP were both effective at in increasing moderate levels of physical activity at 3 months and maintaining moderate physical activity levels 12 months post-randomization. This clinical trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov. Its identifier is NCT00328484.
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