Short- and long-term effects of a physical activity counselling programme in COPD: a randomized controlled trial

Respir Med. 2015 Jan;109(1):112-21. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2014.10.020. Epub 2014 Nov 22.


Background: We were interested in the effects of a physical activity (PA) counselling programme in three groups of COPD patients from general practice (primary care), outpatient clinic (secondary care) and pulmonary rehabilitation (PR).

Methods: In this randomized controlled trial 155 COPD patients, 102 males, median (IQR) age 62 (54-69) y, FEV1predicted 60 (40-75) % were assigned to a 12-weeks' physical activity counselling programme or usual care. Physical activity (pedometer (Yamax SW200) and metabolic equivalents), exercise capacity (6-min walking distance) and quality of life (Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire and Clinical COPD Questionnaire) were assessed at baseline, after three and 15 months.

Results: A significant difference between the counselling and usual care group in daily steps (803 steps, p = 0.001) and daily physical activity (2214 steps + equivalents, p = 0.001)) from 0 to 3 months was found in the total group, as well as in the outpatient (1816 steps, 2616 steps + equivalents, both p = 0.007) and PR (758 steps, 2151 steps + equivalents, both p = 0.03) subgroups. From 0 to 15 months no differences were found in physical activity. However, when patients with baseline physical activity>10,000 steps per day (n = 8), who are already sufficiently active, were excluded, a significant long-term effect of the counselling programme on daily physical activity existed in the total group (p = 0.02). Differences in exercise capacity and quality of life were found only from 0 to 3 months, in the outpatient subgroup.

Conclusion: Our PA counselling programme effectively enhances PA level in COPD patients after three months. Sedentary patients at baseline still benefit after 15 months. registration number NCT00614796.

Keywords: Behaviour modification; COPD; Exercise capacity; Health related quality of life; Randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Psychometrics
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life
  • Vital Capacity / physiology
  • Walking / physiology

Associated data