Exercise training should be tailored to address the individual patients limiting factors (central cardiorespiratory and/or peripheral muscle) to exercise. Patients who are capable of exercising for prolonged periods of time at high intensities will equally benefit from performing either continuous or interval training regimes. In patients with intense dyspnea symptoms, interval exercise is more appropriate. Resistance exercise should be complementary to endurance exercise so as to improve the strength of both the upper and the lower body muscles. In patients with profound muscle weakness resistance exercise should constitute a training priority. Regardless of mode and type of exercise implemented, a training regime should be designed to progressively overload the organism beyond the regularly encountered levels. The overloading procedure should be continuously adjusted to maximize training adaptations. During training supervision is necessary to avoid complications and to record the rate of progress. This review provides several practical aspects to guide rehabilitation therapists on how best to implement the principles of training when exercising patients with COPD.
Keywords: COPD, exercise training, interval exercise, endurance exercise, exercise tollerance, deconditioning
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