Photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) employing low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and/or light emitting diode therapy (LEDT) has emerged as an electrophysical intervention that could be associated with aerobic training to enhance beneficial effects of aerobic exercise. However, the best moment to perform irradiation with PBMT in aerobic training has not been elucidated. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of PBMT applied before and/or after each training session and to evaluate outcomes of the endurance-training program associated with PBMT. Seventy-seven healthy volunteers completed the treadmill-training protocol performed for 12 weeks, with 3 sessions per week. PBMT was performed before and/or after each training session (17 sites on each lower limb, using a cluster of 12 diodes: 4 × 905 nm super-pulsed laser diodes, 4 × 875 nm infrared LEDs, and 4 × 640 nm red LEDs, dose of 30 J per site). Volunteers were randomized in four groups according to the treatment they would receive before and after each training session: PBMT before + PBMT after, PBMT before + placebo after, placebo before + PBMT after, and placebo before + placebo after. Assessments were performed before the start of the protocol and after 4, 8, and 12 weeks of training. Primary outcome was time until exhaustion; secondary outcome measures were oxygen uptake and body fat. PBMT applied before and after aerobic exercise training sessions (PBMT before + PBMT after group) significantly increased (p < 0.05) the percentage of change of time until exhaustion and oxygen uptake compared to the group treated with placebo before and after aerobic exercise training sessions (placebo before + placebo after group) at 4th, 8th, and 12th week. PBMT applied before and after aerobic exercise training sessions (PBMT before + PBMT after group) also significantly improved (p < 0.05) the percentage of change of body fat compared to the group treated with placebo before and after aerobic exercise training sessions (placebo before + placebo after group) at 8th and 12th week. PBMT applied before and after sessions of aerobic training during 12 weeks can increase the time-to-exhaustion and oxygen uptake and also decrease the body fat in healthy volunteers when compared to placebo irradiation before and after exercise sessions. Our outcomes show that PBMT applied before and after endurance-training exercise sessions lead to improvement of endurance three times faster than exercise only.
Keywords: Aerobic training; Exercise; Fatigue; Light emitting diode therapy; Low-level laser therapy; Phototherapy.