Objective: To compare the effects of traditional dancing with formal exercise training in terms of functional and cardiovascular benefits and motivation in patients with chronic heart failure.
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Sports Medicine Laboratory.
Subjects: Fifty-one Greek male patients aged 67.1±5.5 years with chronic heart failure of New York Heart Association (NYHA) class II-III, participated in an eight-month study.
Interventions: They were randomly assigned to either training with Greek traditional dances (group A, n=18), formal exercise training (group B, n=16) or a sedentary control group (group C, n=17).
Main measures: At entry and the end of the study all patients underwent cardiopulmonary exercise testing, functional ability assessment and quality of life evaluations. The Intrinsic Motivation Inventory was also used to assess participants' subjective experience.
Results: After training group A showed increased peak oxygen consumption by 33.8% (19.5 vs. 26.1 ml/kg/min, p<0.05) and B by 32.3% (19.5 vs. 25.8 ml/kg/min, p<0.05), maximal treadmill tolerance by 48.5% (p<0.05) and by 46.4% (p<0.05), and a decreased Slope of expired minute ventilation for carbon dioxide output (VE/VCO2) slope by 18% (p<0.05) and 19.5% (p<0.05), respectively. Trained patients revealed significant improvement in the quality of life indices. Intrinsic Motivation Inventory was increased only in group A by 26.2% (3.08 vs. 3.87, p<0.05).
Conclusions: Exercise training in chronic heart failure patients with Greek traditional dances led to functional and cardiovascular benefits similar to formal exercise training and to a higher level of motivation.
Keywords: Chronic heart failure; cardiac rehabilitation; dancing; functional capacity; psychosocial status.