Impact of resistance training in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients during periods of acute exacerbation

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Sep;95(9):1638-45. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.05.007. Epub 2014 May 28.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of whole-body resistance training on exercise capacity, health-related quality of life (HRQOL), and muscle strength in patients hospitalized for exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Design: Randomized controlled trial.

Setting: University hospital.

Participants: Patients (N=46) were randomized to either a control group (CG) or training group (TG), and 29 patients completed the study.

Intervention: Training consisted of weight-lifting exercises for 6 muscle groups in the upper and lower limbs (2 sets of 8 repetitions each), and the initial load was set at 80% of the 1-repetition maximum load.

Main outcome measures: Patients were evaluated on the second day of hospitalization, at hospital discharge, and 30 days postdischarge. Patients were evaluated on the basis of the 6-minute walking distance (6MWD), HRQOL, muscle strength, systemic inflammatory markers, and level of physical activity in daily life (PADL).

Results: The CG showed a reduction in the strength of lower-limb muscles (P<.05) but not in the 6MWD (P>.05). In contrast, patients from the TG improved strength in the lower-limb muscles and 6MWD during and 30 days after hospitalization (P<.05). The TG also improved the impact domain in HRQOL after hospitalization. No improvement in PADL was observed in the TG. Finally, a reduction in the blood levels of inflammatory markers was observed only in the TG after hospitalization.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that resistance training during hospitalization improves the 6MWD, HRQOL, and lower-limb muscle strength, without altering the levels of systemic inflammation. However, future research should explore this intervention in larger randomized trials.

Trial registration: NCT01786928.

Keywords: Hospitalization; Pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive; Quality of life; Rehabilitation; Resistance training.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Exercise Tolerance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / psychology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Resistance Training*
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data