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      Exercise training alone or with the addition of activity counseling improves physical activity levels in COPD: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

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          Physical inactivity is associated with poor outcomes in COPD, and as a result, interventions to improve physical activity (PA) are a current research focus. However, many trials have been small and inconclusive.


          The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to study the effects of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) targeting PA in COPD.


          Databases (Physiotherapy Evidence Database [PEDro], Embase, MEDLINE, CINAHL and the Cochrane Central Register for Controlled Trials) were searched using the following keywords: “COPD”, “intervention” and “physical activity” from inception to May 20, 2016; published RCTs that aimed to increase PA in individuals with COPD were included. The PEDro scale was used to rate study quality. Standardized mean differences (effect sizes, ESs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were determined. Effects of included interventions were also measured according to the minimal important difference (MID) in daily steps for COPD (599 daily steps).


          A total of 37 RCTs with 4,314 participants (mean forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV 1) % predicted 50.5 [SD=10.4]) were identified. Interventions including exercise training (ET; n=3 studies, 103 participants) significantly increased PA levels in COPD compared to standard care (ES [95% CI]; 0.84 [0.44–1.25]). The addition of activity counseling to pulmonary rehabilitation (PR; n=4 studies, 140 participants) showed important effects on PA levels compared to PR alone (0.47 [0.02–0.92]), achieving significant increases that exceeded the MID for daily steps in COPD (mean difference [95% CI], 1,452 daily steps [549–2,356]). Reporting of methodological quality was poor in most included RCTs.


          Interventions that included ET and PA counseling during PR were effective strategies to improve PA in COPD.

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          Most cited references 55

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          Characteristics of physical activities in daily life in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

          Quantification of physical activities in daily life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has increasing clinical interest. However, detailed comparison with healthy subjects is not available. Furthermore, it is unknown whether time spent actively during daily life is related to lung function, muscle force, or maximal and functional exercise capacity. We assessed physical activities and movement intensity with the DynaPort activity monitor in 50 patients (age 64 +/- 7 years; FEV1 43 +/- 18% predicted) and 25 healthy elderly individuals (age 66 +/- 5 years). Patients showed lower walking time (44 +/- 26 vs. 81 +/- 26 minutes/day), standing time (191 +/- 99 vs. 295 +/- 109 minutes/day), and movement intensity during walking (1.8 +/- 0.3 vs. 2.4 +/- 0.5 m/second2; p < 0.0001 for all), as well as higher sitting time (374 +/- 139 vs. 306 +/- 108 minutes/day; p = 0.04) and lying time (87 +/- 97 vs. 29 +/- 33 minutes/day; p = 0.004). Walking time was highly correlated with the 6-minute walking test (r = 0.76, p < 0.0001) and more modestly to maximal exercise capacity, lung function, and muscle force (0.28 < r < 0.64, p < 0.05). Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are markedly inactive in daily life. Functional exercise capacity is the strongest correlate of physical activities in daily life.
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            Motivational interviewing to increase physical activity in people with chronic health conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

            A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to determine if motivational interviewing leads to increased physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness or functional exercise capacity in people with chronic health conditions.
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              Pedometers to enhance physical activity in COPD: a randomised controlled trial

              Physical inactivity is a cardinal feature of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Pedometers, which have been used in healthy populations, might also increase physical activity in patients with COPD. COPD patients taking part in a 3-month individualised programme to promote an increase in their daily physical activity were randomised to either a standard programme of physical activity encouragement alone, or a pedometer-based programme. Assessments were performed by investigators blinded to treatment allocation. Change in average 1-week daily step count, 6-min walking distance (6MWD), modified Medical Research Council scale, St George’s respiratory questionnaire (SGRQ) and COPD assessment test (CAT) were compared between groups. 102 patients were recruited, of whom 97 completed the programme (pedometer group: n=50; control group: n=47); 60.8% were male with a mean±sd age of 68.7±8.5 years, and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) 66.1±19.4% and FEV1/forced vital capacity 55.2±9.5%. Both groups had comparable characteristics at baseline. The pedometer group had significantly greater improvements in: physical activity 3080±3254 steps·day−1 versus 138.3±1950 steps·day−1 (p<0.001); SGRQ −8.8±12.2 versus −3.8±10.9 (p=0.01); CAT score −3.5±5.5 versus −0.6±6.6 (p=0.001); and 6MWD 12.4±34.6 versus −0.7±24.4 m (p=0.02) than patients receiving activity encouragement only. A simple physical activity enhancement programme using pedometers can effectively improve physical activity level and quality of life in COPD patients.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                08 December 2016
                : 11
                : 3121-3136
                [1 ]Discipline of Physiotherapy, La Trobe University
                [2 ]Institute for Breathing and Sleep
                [3 ]Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Austin Health
                [4 ]Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne
                [5 ]Department of Physiotherapy, Alfred Health, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Aroub Lahham, Discipline of Physiotherapy, La Trobe University Clinical School, Alfred Health, 99 Commercial Road, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia, Email a.lahham@
                © 2016 Lahham et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.


                Respiratory medicine

                interventions, physical activity, chronic obstructive, pulmonary disease


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