Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Combination Exercise Benefits Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

Patients with coronary artery disease are likely to experience many benefits when exercise programs combine aerobic training (AT) with resistance training (RT), according to the results of a new study, published in the September issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Recent guidelines for patients with coronary artery disease recommend that patients perform one set of six to ten repetitions of RT. According to Susan Marzolini, from the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues, "Although recommendations for the AT prescription are widely known, the RT prescription when combined with AT remains unclear.”

The authors enrolled 72 patients with known coronary artery disease for the study. The participants were randomly assigned aerobic training (5 days/week) or resistance and aerobic training combined. The group performing the combination exercises was given one to three resistance training exercises in addition to aerobics, two days per week. Fifty-three subjects completed the program which measured VO2(peak), ventilatory anaerobic threshold(VAT), body composition, strength, endurance and adherence to the program.

Compared to the AT group, the AT/RT group experienced reduced body fat, and greater increase in strength and endurance. Patients who were given three sets of resistance training exercise had lower adherence to the number of sets performed versus those who were given just one set. Increase in VO2(peak) was not significantly different between the two groups. VAT improvements were significant in the group who performed three sets of resistance exercises versus one, as were gains in lean muscle mass.

The authors conclude, "The combination of RT and AT yields greater improvements in cardiovascular endpoints of exercise performance, skeletal muscle function, and body composition compared to AT alone, in spite of a 28% reduction in the actual AT training stimulus. These data strongly support a combined training intervention in CAD patients, and supports the use of multiple-set RT for patients desiring an increased RT stimulus."

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008;40:1557-1564.

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