It remains unclear whether self-regulated exercise is sufficient to maintain the benefits acquired during formal cardiac rehabilitation (CR). This retrospective observational study investigated the effects of a home-based exercise intervention after discharge from CR upon anthropometric and aerobic capacity markers in clinically stable patients.
Fifty patients with cardiovascular disease were discharged after 6 months of CR and encouraged to maintain aerobic exercise without supervision. Subsequent to 6 months of follow-up, patients were assigned to compliant (n = 34) or noncompliant (n = 16) groups according to their compliance to the home-based program. Maximal aerobic capacity (VO2peak) and anthropometric data were assessed before CR, at discharge, and after 6 months of follow-up.
No statistical differences between compliant and noncompliant groups were observed at baseline and at discharge from CR. At the end of the follow-up, statistical differences across groups were not found for body mass or body mass index, but increases in VO2peak (+3.6 vs. –0.6 ml/kg·min, P = 0.004) and oxygen pulse (+1.5 vs. +0.2 ml/bpm, P = .03) were greater in compliant than noncompliant group.
Self-regulated exercising following CR discharge seems to be effective to maintain gains in exercise capacity acquired during supervised center-based programs.
Borges, Farinatti, and Lopes are with the Laboratory of Physical Activity and Health Promotion, Institute of Physical Education and Sports, University of Rio de Janeiro State, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Farinatti is also with the Graduate Program in Physical Activity Sciences, Salgado de Oliveira University, Niteroi, Brazil. Mediano and Tibiriçá are with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, FIOCRUZ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Coelho, Nascimento, Kopiler, and Tibiriçá are with the National Institute of Cardiology, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.