Changing physical activity and sedentary behaviour in people with COPD

Respirology. 2016 Apr;21(3):419-26. doi: 10.1111/resp.12680. Epub 2015 Nov 12.


People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) engage in low levels of physical activity (PA). Given the evidence for the health benefits associated with participating in 150 min of moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA each week, there is considerable interest in methods to increase PA in people with COPD. Studies to date have focused largely on exercise training and behavioural approaches, and many have demonstrated minimal, if any effect. An intermediate goal that focuses on reducing time spent in sedentary behaviour (SB) and increasing participation in light intensity PA is a more realistic goal in this population and offers a gateway to higher intensity PA. Although strategies that are capable of reducing time spent in SB in COPD are unknown, studies that have shown some increase in PA in this population often provide individualized goal setting, motivational interviewing and frequent contact with health-care professionals to provide advice regarding strategies to overcome barriers. Therefore, these approaches should be considered in interventions to reduce time in SB. There are a range of devices available to monitor time in SB for use in both clinical and research settings. To move this area forward, a theoretically informed and systematic approach to behaviour change is needed. The theoretical model, the 'behaviour change wheel', is described and an example is provided of how it can be applied to a person with COPD.

Keywords: chronic obstructive; energy metabolism; health; pulmonary disease; sedentary lifestyle.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / psychology*
  • Sedentary Behavior*