Patients with walkers undertaking pulmonary rehab

Structured exercise can help older people hospitalised with COPD

A summary of a research letter published in the European Respiratory Journal

A structured exercise programme is safe and can help older people who are hospitalised with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a new study.

There is some debate around the benefits of specialist exercise programmes, known as pulmonary rehabilitation. This study aimed to assess the pros and cons of this type of treatment.

What did the study look at?

The researchers looked at a total of 86 people who were in hospital due to their COPD. 46 of these people took part in an exercise programme, tailored to their own level of activity. The other 40 people did not take part in an exercise programme. People in both groups were tested before they left hospital and at 3 months and 12 months after they left hospital. The tests looked at how they were feeling, whether they were able to perform daily activities and how they felt mentally.

What do the results show?

The results found that the people taking part in the exercise programme saw improvements in all physical measurements as well as measurements looking at how they felt and their quality of life. There were no negative side effects reported from taking part in the exercise programme.

Why is this important?

These findings support the use of exercise programmes to help people who are in hospital due to their COPD. The authors state that the results were also found in people aged 87 and over. This strengthens the argument that this type of treatment is safe, even in this more vulnerable group. There is still a lack of evidence overall in this area and further research is needed to confirm these findings.

Read the original research paper:

Tailored exercise is safe and beneficial for acutely hospitalised older adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease