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Effects of exercise training in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease—a narrative review for FYSS (Swedish Physical Activity Exercise Prescription Book)
  1. M Emtner1,2,
  2. K Wadell3
  1. 1Department of Neuroscience, Physiotherapy, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  2. 2Department of Medical Sciences, Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  3. 3Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Physiotherapy, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Professor Margareta Emtner, Department of Neuroscience, Physiotherapy, Uppsala University, Box 593, BMC, Uppsala 751 24, Sweden; margareta.emtner{at}


The aims of this review were to determine the level of evidence for exercise training in the management of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and provide evidence-based recommendations on exercise training. This review was performed in PubMed and Cochrane Library. Included studies investigated patients with COPD who had been randomised to exercise training or no training. Six systematic reviews were included. The methodological quality was scored using a grading system (GRADE). The analysis showed that aerobic and resistance training in patients in a stable state of COPD results in improved health-related quality of life and decreased dyspnoea, anxiety and depression (moderately strong scientific evidence, grade +++), and increased physical capacity and decreased dyspnoea in daily activities (limited scientific evidence, grade ++). In patients with an acute exacerbation, aerobic and resistance training, performed directly after the exacerbation, results in improved health-related quality of life (moderately strong scientific evidence, grade +++), improved exercise capacity and decreased mortality and hospitalisation (limited scientific evidence, grade ++). Thus, patients with COPD should be recommended to take part in exercise training.

  • Exercise
  • Exercise training
  • Physical activity

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