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A more active lifestyle crucial for day-to-day function in COPD patients

Posted May 17 2010 7:47am

There is no magic bullet to help patients with COPD improve their ability to function in daily life. In fact, the best advice they might get is “do by doing,” according to research to be presented at the ATS conference in New Orleans.

The results will be presented at the ATS 2010 International Conference in New Orleans.

Inactivity is known to be associated with a decrease in exercise tolerance, but it was unknown whether the reduced amount of physical activity alone was responsible for the reduction in functional exercise tolerance and maximal exercise capacity, or if the decreased intensity of the performed activities also played a role.

“We looked at the functional exercise tolerance in patients with COPD—that is, the distance they were able to walk during the six-minute walk test—and related it to the amount of daily activity they were able to maintain,” said Chris Burtin, P.T., M.Sc. “We found that patients with a higher amount of daily activities also had higher scores on the six-minute walk test.”

In contrast, patients’ maximal exercise tolerance was unaffected by their daily activity, and more likely to be affected by disease severity, and the intensity, rather than the amount, of performed activities.

“Knowledge of these relationships is of utmost importance when developing interventions aiming at improvement of functional or maximal exercise capacity,” explained Mr. Burtin. “These findings confirm that intensity of the performed activities is crucial when the intervention aims at improving physical fitness.”

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