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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1994 Jul;75(7):792-7.

Effects of a muscle exercise program on exercise capacity in subjects with osteoarthritis.

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  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo.


Maximal aerobic power and muscle function have been shown to decrease with age and to be even lower in patients with osteoarthritis (OA). This study was designed to determine if subjects with OA who underwent only a muscle exercise program had improved exercise capacity and cardiovascular fitness. A maximal graded exercise test was given before and after 3 months of exercise (isometric, isotonic, and isometric force generated as a function of time contractions, three times a week). Maximal strength and the tension-time index improved significantly. Peak aerobic power increased from 15.99 +/- 3.96 to 20.34 +/- 3.29 On average, maximal walking speed increased from 2.0 +/- 0.6 mph to 2.4 +/- 0.7mph. Exercise time increased 22%, from 9.2 +/- 2.3 minutes to 11.2 +/- 2.7 minutes. There were significant reductions in submaximal heart rate (15b.min-1) and systolic blood pressure (15mmHg) after training. It would appear that the reduction in aerobic fitness of subjects with OA is secondary to their reduced muscle function. By improving muscle function, increases in exercise capacity and aerobic fitness occurred.

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