Long-term Physical Activity Behavior After Completion of Traditional Versus Fast-track Cardiac Rehabilitation

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Abstract

Background:

Despite the health benefits associated with regular physical activity (PA), many cardiac patients fail to maintain optimal levels of PA after completing cardiac rehabilitation (CR). The long-term impact of different CR delivery models on the PA habits of cardiac patients is not completely understood.

Objective:

The purpose of this study is to use a multisensor accelerometer to compare the long-term impact of a traditional versus fast-track CR on the PA of patients with coronary artery disease 6 months after CR entry.

Methods:

Forty-four participants attended either traditional (twice a week, 12 weeks; n = 24) or fast-track (once a week, 8 weeks; n = 20) CR. Exercise capacity (ie, 6-minute walk test distance) and PA were assessed at baseline and at 12 weeks and 6 months after CR entry.

Results:

At 12 weeks, exercise capacity increased significantly in both groups and remained elevated by the 6-month follow-up. Sedentary time decreased from baseline to 12 weeks. However, at 6 months, it was comparable with the baseline level. There was no significant change in any other PA marker (ie, steps/day, time in light and moderate-vigorous PA) over the course of the study.

Conclusions:

Findings support the long-term effectiveness of CR on exercise capacity irrespective of the delivery model. However, participation in CR program, whether it be a traditional or fast-track CR exercise program, may not lead to long-term PA behavior change. Thus, CR participants may benefit from structured strategies that promote long-term PA adherence in addition to facilitating exercise capacity improvement.

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