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Patients with COPD often suffer not only from dyspnea but also from comorbidities like effective cough, sarcopenia and depressive symptoms. The consequences are a decrease of exercise capacity and they retreat from daily life and activities. Being scared of breathlessness and further incline of the symptoms, patients avoid exercising and sports.
This study was designed to evaluate the effects of a 12-week low-volume out-patient whole body vibration training (WBVT) program on exercise capacity in comparison with a calisthenics training (CTG) in subjects with mild to severe COPD. In a randomized control trial study with parallel group design 29 subjects with mild to severe COPD were randomly divided into two groups: WBVT or CTG. Both groups exercised for 12 weeks with 2 sessions of 30 minutes per week. The protocol of training in the WBVT-group consisted of a 10 minute warm-up and a 3 x 3 minute training unit performing a static squat on a side-alternating vibration platform (Galileo®). The CTG did calisthenics training, including relaxation and breathing retraining in combination with calisthenics exercises.
The outcome parameters were 6-min walk distance (6MWD), 5-repetition sit-to-stand-test (FTSTST), leg press peak force, Berg balance scale (BBS), St. George Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) and COPD-assessment test (CAT).
At the end of the 12-week-training subjects in the WBVT group significantly improved 6MWD, FTSTST, leg press peak force and BBS. Therefore the WBVT had beneficial effects on the exercise capacity, the peak force of the lower extremities and the postural control of the subjects. In the CTG there was only a significant improvement of the CAT.
These results lead to the conclusion that a low-volume WBVT program shows significant and clinically-relevant improvements in exercise capacity compared with calisthenics exercises in subjects with mild to severe COPD.