A Home-based Maintenance Exercise Program After Center-based Cardiac Rehabilitation: Effects on Blood Lipids, Body Composition, and Functional Capacity


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Abstract

Background.Previous research indicates that patients exiting a 12-week cardiac rehabilitation program (CRP) have difficulty maintaining an adequate exercise program. Thus, the authors' purpose was to determine if a home-based exercise program would enable patients to maintain/improve their blood lipids, body composition, and functional capacity after exiting the CRP.Methods.Thirty-one patients exiting an initial 12-week CRP were assigned randomly to the home-based (HB) intervention or the standard care (SC) condition. After one home visit, the HB participants (n = 16) were contacted by telephone every other week by CRP staff and completed and returned weekly exercise logs. The SC participants (n = 15) had no contact with the CRP other than to schedule follow-up tests. A third group (n = 17), randomly selected from patients that elected to remain in the center-based CRP (CB) for the same duration, also were examined. All groups underwent exercise testing, fasting blood lipid analysis, and body composition assessment before starting CRP (0M), after 3 months (3M) in a standard CRP, and after 9 months (12M) in either HB, SC, or CB condition (12 months after starting CRP).Results.Analysis of variance indicated that there were significant increases in metabolic equivalents and high-density lipoprotein, in all three groups, over time. However, analysis of covariance revealed no significant differences between the HB, SC, and CB groups at 12M for any variable.Conclusions.These data indicate that the HB program was as effective as the CB program at improving/maintaining functional capacity, blood lipids, and body weight/composition. The similar success of the SC group is likely due to their prior experience in CRP and knowledge of follow-up testing. Home-based maintenance program could be offered as a low-cost alternative to CB programs.

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