Effect of aerobic vs combined aerobic-strength training on 1-year, post-cardiac rehabilitation outcomes in women after a cardiac event
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OBJECTIVE: To compare the effect and sustainability of 6 months combined aerobic/strength training vs aerobic training alone on quality of life in women after coronary artery by-pass graft surgery or myocardial infarction. DESIGN: Prospective, 2-group, randomized controlled trial. PARTICIPANTS: Ninety-two women who were 8-10 weeks post-coronary artery by-pass graft surgery or myocardial infarction, able to attend supervised exercise, and fluent in English. METHODS: The aerobic training alone group had supervised exercise twice a week for 6 months. The aerobic/strength training group received aerobic training plus upper and lower body resistance exercises. The amount of active exercise time was matched between groups. The primary outcome, quality of life, was measured by the MOS SF-36; secondary outcomes were self-efficacy, strength and exercise capacity. RESULTS: After 6 months of supervised exercise training both groups showed statistically significant improvements in physical quality of life (p = 0.0002), peak VO2 (19% in aerobic/strength training vs 22% in aerobic training alone), strength (p < 0.0001) and self-efficacy for stair climbing (p = 0.0024), lifting (p < 0.0001) and walking (p = 0.0012). However, by 1-year follow-up there was a statistically significant difference in physical quality of life in favor of the aerobic/strength training group (p = 0.05). CONCLUSION: Women with coronary artery disease stand to benefit from both aerobic training alone and aerobic/strength training. However, continued improvement in physical quality of life may be achieved through combined strength and aerobic training.
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