Effects of a 12-week mHealth program on peak VO2 and physical activity patterns after completing cardiac rehabilitation: A randomized controlled trial

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Abstract

Background:

Site-based cardiac rehabilitation (CR) provides supervised exercise, education and motivation for patients. Graduates of CR have improved exercise tolerance. However, when participation in CR ceases, adherence to regular physical activity often declines, consequently leading to worsening risk factors and clinical events. Therefore, the purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate if a mHealth program could sustain the fitness and physical activity levels gained during CR.

Methods and Results:

A 12-week mHealth program was implemented using physical activity trackers and health coaching. Twenty-five patients were randomized into mHealth or usual care after completing CR. The combination of a 4.7 ± 13.8% increase in the mHealth and a 8.5 ± 11.5% decrease in the usual care group resulted in a difference between groups (P ≤ .05) for absolute peak VO2. Usual care decreased the amount of moderate-low physical activity minutes per week (117 ± 78 vs 50 ± 53; P < .05) as well as moderate-high (111 ± 87 vs 65 ± 64; P < .05). mHealth increased moderate-high physical activity (138 ± 113 vs 159 ± 156; NS). The divergent changes between mHealth and usual care in moderate-high physical activity minutes/week resulted in a difference between groups (21 ± 103 vs – 46 ± 36; P < .05).

Conclusions:

A 12-week mHealth program of physical activity trackers and health coaching following CR graduation can sustain the gains in peak VO2 and physical activity achieved by site-based CR.

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