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Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte

Print version ISSN 1517-8692On-line version ISSN 1806-9940


SILVA, Evelise Guimarães da  and  DOURADO, Victor Zuniga. Strength training for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Rev Bras Med Esporte [online]. 2008, vol.14, n.3, pp.231-238. ISSN 1517-8692.

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease commonly present peripheral muscular weakness associated with intolerance to exercise. Although being effective, aerobic exercise presents little or no effect on the muscular weakness and atrophy, besides not being tolerated by the majority of patients with COPD. Within this context, strength training is a rational option for increasing muscular strength; it is also more tolerable than aerobic exercise. The increase in peripheral muscular strength is the most consistent benefit of strength training and, when it is added to aerobic exercise; it does not result in additional improvement in exercise capacity, dyspnea or quality of life. Nevertheless, it has been observed that combined training is physiologically more complete and can be a reasonable option of a more diverse physical conditioning. Training of moderate to high intensity results in greater physiological adaptations; however, low-intensity exercise is tolerable, simple and easy to be performed at home, does not require any sophisticated equipment and results in significant benefits. This exercise is indicated, above all, to patients with more advanced COPD. Finally, there is recent evidence that strength training for trunk muscles is a valid alternative for improving functional exercise capacity and pulmonary function in patients with COPD. The present review suggests the incorporation of strength training as a routine strategy in pulmonary rehabilitation programs. Future studies are necessary to evaluate the effects of strength training in the mental health, in the performance of daily tasks, in the bone and joint health, in the risk of falls and in the pulmonary function, among others.

Keywords : COPD; strength training; pulmonary rehabilitation; quality of life.

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