Objective: The high prevalence of fatigue among persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be related to poor cardiorespiratory fitness observed in this population. Oxygen uptake on-kinetics is a method of assessing cardiorespiratory fitness and may be used to examine performance fatigability (decline in performance during a given activity) in persons with TBI.Purpose: To examine the effect of aerobic exercise training on oxygen uptake on-kinetics during treadmill walking in individuals with TBI.Methods: Seven ambulatory adults with chronic non-penetrating TBI performed short moderate-intensity (3-6 metabolic equivalents) walking bouts on a treadmill, prior to and following an aerobic exercise training program (clinicaltrials.gov: NCT01294332). The 12-week training program consisted of vigorous-intensity exercise on a treadmill for 30 min, 3 times a week. Breath-by-breath pulmonary gas exchange was measured throughout the bouts, and oxygen uptake on-kinetics described the time taken to achieve a steady-state response.Results: Faster oxygen uptake on-kinetics was observed after exercise training, for both the absolute and relative intensity as pre-training.Conclusions: Faster oxygen uptake on-kinetics following aerobic exercise training suggests an attenuated decline in physical performance during a standardized walking bout and improved performance fatigability in these individuals with TBI.Implications for rehabilitationSevere fatigue is a common complaint among persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI).Oxygen uptake on-kinetics may be used as an objective physiological measure of performance fatigability in persons with TBI.Faster oxygen uptake on-kinetics following aerobic exercise training suggests improved performance fatigability in these individuals with TBI.Aerobic exercise training appeared beneficial for reducing performance fatigability and may be considered as part of the rehabilitative strategy for those living with TBI.
Keywords: Pulmonary gas exchange; brain injuries; fatigability; physical activity; treadmill.
Conflict of interest statement
Declaration of Interest
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
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