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J Cardiopulm Rehabil. 2006 May-Jun;26(3):131-9; quiz 140-1, discussion 142-4.

Aerobic exercise and lipids and lipoproteins in patients with cardiovascular disease: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

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Department of Community Medicine, School of Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, 26506-9190, USA.



Use the meta-analytic approach to examine the effects of aerobic exercise on lipids and lipoproteins in adults with cardiovascular disease (CVD).


Studies were retrieved via electronic databases, review of reference lists from retrieved articles, including reviews, and hand searching. Inclusion criteria were: (1) randomized controlled trials, (2) aerobic exercise >or=4 weeks as an intervention, (3) studies published in English language only between January 1, 1955 and January 1, 2005, (4) studies published in journals or as dissertations or master's theses, (5) human subjects >or=18 years, (6) all subjects diagnosed with some type of CVD, and (7) pre and post data available for total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and/or triglycerides (TG). Random-effects models were used for data analysis.


Of the more than 3,000 studies reviewed, a total of 10 representing 1,260 subjects (580 exercise, 680 control) were included in our analysis. There was a statistically significant increase of 9% in HDL-C (mean +/- SEM, 3.7 +/- 1.3 mg/dL; 95% CI, 1.2 to 6.1 mg/dL) and a statistically significant decrease of 11% in TG (-19.3 +/- 5.4 mg/dL; 95% CI, -30.1 to -8.5 mg/dL), but no statistically significant decreases in TC or LDL-C (TC, -8.8 +/- 6.8 mg/dL; 95% CI, -22.3 to 4.7 mg/dL; LDL-C, -7.7 +/- 6.0 mg/dL; 95% CI, -19.5 to 4.2 mg/dL).


The present findings suggest that chronic aerobic exercise increases HDL-C and decreases TG in adults, especially men, with CVD.

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