Outdoor Walking Training Compared To Cycle Ergometer Training in Severe COPD: A Randomized Controlled Feasibility Trial

COPD. 2019 Feb;16(1):37-44. doi: 10.1080/15412555.2019.1586865. Epub 2019 May 6.


Exercise can improve walking capacity in persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, most endurance training programs use cycle ergometers. The objectives of this study were: (i) to evaluate the feasibility of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing outdoor walking training (OWT) to cycle ergometer training (CT) during inpatient rehabilitation in persons with severe COPD; (ii) to estimate the effect of OWT and CT on health-related quality of life, physical capacity and physical activity; and (iii) to estimate the required sample size for a RCT. A single-blind randomized controlled feasibility trial was conducted with three months' follow-up in the rehabilitation center in Walenstadtberg, Switzerland. Sixteen patients were included in the study, which had a recruitment rate of 33% (16/48). Patients were allocated to an OWT (n = 8) or CT (n = 8) group. Participants completed 75% of scheduled training and the follow-up rate was 75%. All participants in the OWT group were satisfied with the training. The OWT group had better health-related quality of life after three weeks' training compared to the CT group (p = 0.042, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.06-49.94, effect size (d)=1.19). No exacerbations occurred in the OWT group, but three occurred in the CT group after three months' follow-up. There was no significant difference in the other outcomes. In conclusion, the study design and the OWT are feasible. Health-related quality of life improved in the OWT group compared to the CT group after three weeks' inpatient rehabilitation. A minimum of 46 participants is needed for a RCT. Trial registration: www.who.int/trialsearch DRKS00010977.

Keywords: Interval training; exacerbation; physical activity; quality of life.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Endurance Training / methods*
  • Ergometry
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Physical Endurance
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Quality of Life
  • Sample Size
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walk Test
  • Walking / physiology*

Associated data

  • DRKS/DRKS00010977