Exercise maintenance: COPD patients' perception and perspectives on elements of success in sustaining long-term exercise

Physiother Theory Pract. 2012 Apr;28(3):206-20. doi: 10.3109/09593985.2011.587502. Epub 2011 Aug 8.


Our goal was to elucidate how patients with COPD who successfully maintain a long-term exercise programme understand concordance with maintenance exercise and see potential solutions. The information, collected from 11 individuals through six in-depth interviews and one focus-group interview, was analysed by means of qualitative content analysis. Four themes were identified: (1) perception and acknowledgement of the disease; (2) the personal manner and empowering skills of the therapist; (3) perception of the exercise programme; and (4) left to myself-a pitfall in maintenance. Motivation to continue long-term exercise was related to how the patient is empowered to come to terms with the situation, the relational skills and expert competence of the physiotherapist, the patient's perceived mastery of the intensity of the exercise programme, and the physiotherapist's ability to individualize the exercise, peer support, and the availability and continuity of the programme. More attention should be paid to the link between PR programs and follow-up programmes. Crucial factors in this context are guidance of a municipal physiotherapist or instructor with extensive knowledge of exercise for patients with COPD, social interaction with peers in the exercise setting, enthusiasm, support, and ongoing communication between patients and practitioners across an entire continuum of care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Perception
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / psychology*
  • Research Design