Nonlinear exercise training in advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is superior to traditional exercise training. A randomized trial

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013 Jul 15;188(2):193-200. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201210-1829OC.


Rationale: The optimal exercise training intensity and strategy for individualized exercise training in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is not clear.

Objectives: This study compares the effects of nonlinear periodized exercise (NLPE) training used in athletes to traditional endurance and progressive resistance (EPR) training in patients with severe COPD.

Methods: A total of 110 patients with severe COPD (FEV1 32% predicted) were randomized to EPR or NLPE. Exercise training was performed three times per week for 10 weeks. The primary outcomes were cycling endurance time and health-related quality of life using the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire. The difference in change between EPR and NLPE was assessed using linear mixed-effects modeling.

Measurements and main results: NLPE resulted in significantly greater improvements in cycling endurance time compared with EPR. The difference in change was +300.6 seconds (95% confidence interval [CI] = 197.2-404.2 s; P < 0.001). NLPE also resulted in significantly greater improvements in all domains of the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire compared with EPR, ranging from +0.48 (95% CI = 0.19-0.78) for the domain, emotions, to +0.96 (95% CI = 0.57-1.35) for dyspnea.

Conclusions: NLPE results in greater improvements in cycle endurance and health-related quality of life in patients with severe COPD than traditional training methods. Clinical trial registered with (The Netherlands Trial Register; NTR 1045).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Aged
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Physical Endurance
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome