Effects of 12 weeks of aerobic training on autonomic modulation, mucociliary clearance, and aerobic parameters in patients with COPD


Introduction: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exhibit aerobic function, autonomic nervous system, and mucociliary clearance alterations. These parameters can be attenuated by aerobic training, which can be applied with continuous or interval efforts. However, the possible effects of aerobic training, using progressively both continuous and interval sessions (ie, linear periodization), require further investigation. Aim: To analyze the effects of 12-week aerobic training using continuous and interval sessions on autonomic modulation, mucociliary clearance, and aerobic function in patients with COPD. Methods: Sixteen patients with COPD were divided into an aerobic (continuous and interval) training group (AT) (n= 10) and a control group (CG) (n= 6). An incremental test (initial speed of 2.0 km.h(-1), constant slope of 3%, and increments of 0.5 km.h(-1) every 2 minutes) was performed. The training group underwent training for 4 weeks at 60% of the peak velocity reached in the incremental test (vVO(2peak)) (50 minutes of continuous effort), followed by 4 weeks of sessions at 75% of vVO(2peak) (30 minutes of continuous effort), and 4 weeks of interval training (5x3-minute effort at vVO(2peak), separated by 1 minute of passive recovery). Intensities were adjusted through an incremental test performed at the end of each period. Results: The AT presented an increase in the high frequency index (ms(2)) (P= 0.04), peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) (P= 0.01), vVO(2peak) (P= 0.04), and anaerobic threshold (P= 0.02). No significant changes were observed in the CG (P > 0.21) group. Neither of the groups presented changes in mucociliary clearance after 12 weeks (AT: P= 0.94 and CG: P= 0.69). Conclusion: Twelve weeks of aerobic training (continuous and interval sessions) positively influenced the autonomic modulation and aerobic parameters in patients with COPD. However, mucociliary clearance was not affected by aerobic training.



COPD, exercise, aerobic treatment, mucociliary clearance

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International Journal Of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Albany: Dove Medical Press Ltd, v. 10, p. 2549-2557, 2015.