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 www.trialregister.nl (The Netherlands Trial Register; NTR 1045).