Director of the Better Breathing Foundation, Zoe McKeough, and her research colleagues in Sydney and Perth, Australia (Sally Wootton, Cindy Ng, Sue Jenkins, Kylie Hill, Peter Eastwood, David Hillman, Nola Cecins, Lissa Spencer, Christine Jenkins and Jennifer Alison) have published an article in the European Respiratory Journal examining the effects of ground-based walking training in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
While it is well known that standard pulmonary rehabilitation programs of conventional exercise training such as cycling, treadmill walking, arm exercises and resistance exercises improve exercise capacity and quality of life in people with COPD, no study has previously examined whether a low resource training modality of ground-based walking training is sufficient to produce a positive training effect in people with COPD.
The study, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia, examined 130 people with COPD in a randomised controlled trial with half the cohort completing an 8 to 10 week supervised ground walking training program two to three times weekly and the other half continuing with usual medical management which did not include exercise training.
Results of the study indicated that, compared to the usual care group, the walking group significantly improved their exercise capacity as shown by walking for longer during a walk test. The walking group also had significantly better quality of life compared to the usual care group.
This research has significant implications for the availability of exercise training particularly to people with COPD who live in rural and remote regions or people who are unable to access high resourced gym environments. This research provides evidence that supervised ground-based walking programs can be used for these groups as an alternative exercise modality to improve exercise capacity. Further research needs to be conducted examining the long-term effects of walking exercise as a maintenance intervention for this group.
The reference for this article is:
Title: Ground-based walking training improves quality of life and exercise capacity in COPD
Authors: Sally L. Wootton, L.W. Cindy Ng, Zoe J. McKeough, Sue Jenkins, Kylie Hill, Peter R. Eastwood, David R. Hillman, Nola Cecins, Lissa M. Spencer, Christine Jenkins and Jennifer A. Alison
Journal: European Respiratory Journal 44:885-894.