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Respir Med. 2008 Apr;102(4):505-11. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2007.12.004. Epub 2008 Feb 1.

Different physical therapy interventions on daily physical activities in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Federal University of São Carlos, UFSCar, Parque Santa Marta, São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil.



To verify the outcome of different physical therapy interventions in activities of daily living of individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


Twenty-two COPD individuals were randomly divided into three groups: the Lower Limb Training Group (LLTG, n=8) performed treadmill exercise, Upper Limb Training Group (ULTG, n=8) performed upper limb (UL) training, and Control Group (CG, n=6) underwent bronchial hygiene therapy for 6 weeks, three times per week. The following were simulated in the activities of the daily living test: blackboard erasing, weight lifting exercise, stair climbing and treadmill walking. The duration of these tasks was 5 min of blackboard erasing and weight lifting, and 6 min of stair climbing and treadmill walking.


Intragroup analysis presented a significant post-treatment ventilatory demand (V(E)/MVV) decrease for the LLTG during basal conditions and walking, and significant decrease during blackboard erasing and walking for the ULTG, with similar metabolic demand (VO(2)/VO(2)max) for both groups. Dyspnoea decreased significantly in the LLTG during post-treatment walking and increased for CG. The number of stairs climbed decreased significantly for the CG and increased for LLTG and ULTG post treatment, along with the walked distance for LLTG. The intergroup analysis presented significant differences in post-treatment dyspnoea with greater values observed for the CG during walking.


The different protocols utilized promoted benefits towards physical exercise tolerance, particularly in the ULTG that presented better performance in sustained UL tasks, which may suggest better conditioning and coordination of the muscles involved in UL elevation.

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