Combined aerobic and resistance exercise program improves task performance in patients with heart failure

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 Sep;92(9):1371-81. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2011.02.022.


Objectives: To assess the effects of a home-based aerobic and resistance training program on the physical function of adults with New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II and III patients and systolic heart failure (HF).

Design: Randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Home based.

Participants: Stable patients (N=24; mean age, 60 ± 10 y; left ventricular ejection fraction, 25% ± 9%; 50% white; 50% women) with New York Heart Association (NYHA) classes II and III (NYHA class III, 58%) systolic heart failure (HF).

Intervention: A 12-week progressive home-based program of moderate-intensity aerobic and resistance exercise. Attention control wait list participants performed light stretching and flexibility exercises.

Main outcome measures: A 10-item performance-based physical function measure, the Continuous Scale Physical Functional Performance test (CS-PFP10), was the major outcome variable and included specific physical activities measured in time to complete a task, weight carried during a task, and distance walked. Other measures included muscle strength, HRQOL (Minnesota Living With Heart Failure Questionnaire, Epworth Sleepiness Scale), functional capacity (Duke Activity Status Index), and disease severity (brain natriuretic peptide) levels.

Results: After the exercise intervention, 9 of 10 specific task activities were performed more rapidly, with increased weight carried by exercise participants compared with the attention control wait list group. Exercise participants also showed significant improvements in CS-PFP10 total score (P<.025), upper and lower muscle strength, and HRQOL (P<.001) compared with the attention control wait list group. Adherence rates were 83% and 99% for the aerobic and resistance training, respectively.

Conclusions: Patients with stable HF who participate in a moderate-intensity combined aerobic and resistance exercise program may improve performance of routine physical activities of daily living by using a home-based exercise approach. Performance-based measures such as the CS-PFP10 may provide additional insights into physical function in patients with HF that more commonly used exercise tests may not identify. Early detection of subtle changes that may signal declining physical function that are amenable to intervention potentially may slow further loss of function in this patient population.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Hand Strength
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / psychology
  • Heart Failure / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain / biosynthesis
  • Quality of Life
  • Resistance Training / methods
  • Walking


  • Natriuretic Peptide, Brain