Exercise training in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Rick Carter, J. Richard Coast, Steven Idell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Most patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) demonstrate positive responses to exercise conditioning. Dyspnea is reduced and work tolerance is extended with little or no change in pulmonary function noted. Possible explanations for the increased ability to better tolerate exercise and activities of daily living (ADL) after training include:1) psychological encouragement, 2) improvements in mechanical efficiency, 3) improved cardiovascular conditioning, 4) improved muscle function, S) biochemical adaptations responsible for reducing glucose utilization, 6) desensitization to dyspnea, and 7) contributions from better self-care. However, not all patients respond positively to exercise conditioning. This may represent differences in patient selection, training approaches, and/or comorbidity issues commonly seen in patients with COPD. Alternatively, the answer may reside in devising an optimal training intensity, duration, and frequency combination for patients with COPD. This is not an easy matter because of the diversity of patients categorized as COPD. We have reviewed these issues from the available data and presented areas where additional research is warranted. What is needed at present is a series of well-controlled studies that focus on identifying and improving training responses in patients with COPD. Secondary to this issue is the long term epidemiologic surveillance of trained patients to document sustained effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-291
Number of pages11
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1992


  • Dyspnea
  • Exercise training
  • Human
  • Pulmonary
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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