Confidence building can increase light physical activity in COPD patients, study shows

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Individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease often have sedentary lives, but new research shows a combination of exercise classes and confidence-building programs can lead to an increase in physical activity.

Researchers from Michigan and Illinois enrolled 49 COPD patients and divided them into three groups. One group engaged in upper-body resistance exercises with the self-confidence-building program; one group did upper-body resistance training and health education; and the third group used gentle armchair exercises plus health education. Using an accelerometer — which is similar to a pedometer — researchers found that COPD patients who attended self-confidence-building program increased their light physical activity.

The researchers said their next step will be strengthening the confidence-building component in future exercise programs with COPD patients and emphasizing light physical activities.

"Pulmonary rehabilitation programs will focus on increasing people's self-confidence in their ability to increase their light physical activity in addition to encouraging people to increase moderate–to-vigorous physical activity. This is potentially important because it may be more realistic for COPD patients to increase light physical activity and outcomes may be more positive," said study author Janet Larson, Ph.D., chair of the University of Michigan School of Nursing's Division of Acute, Critical, and Long-term Care.

These findings were presented at the American Thoracic Society 2011 International Conference in Denver, which ended Wednesday.
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