Exercise and the Heart Failure Patient: Aerobic vs Strength Training—Is There a Need for Both?
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Heart failure (HF) is characterized by general muscular weakness, muscle atrophy, and exercise intolerance that lead to reductions in functional capacity, ability to perform activities of daily living, and health-related quality of life. Until recently, exercise programs for patients with HF were centered on aerobic exercise training alone. Although many activities of daily living require significant muscle strength, the role of strength training for HF patients, either alone or in combination with aerobic exercise, has not been well studied. There is suggestive evidence that combined strength-aerobic exercise training may offer additional benefits in terms of health-related quality of life and functional capacity. Strength training can be targeted to reduce muscle atrophy to a greater extent than aerobic training. Further research is required to isolate the specific role of strength training regarding improvements in prognosis, HF-related morbidity and hospitalization, and health-related quality of life for patients with HF.
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