Health Benefits of an Innovative Exercise Program for Mitochondrial Disorders

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We determined the effects of an innovative 8-week exercise intervention (aerobic, resistance and inspiratory muscle training) for patients with mitochondrial disease (MD).


Several endpoints were assessed in 12 patients (19–59 years, 4 female) at pre-training, post-training and after 4-week detraining: aerobic power, muscle strength/power and maximal inspiratory pressure (main endpoints), ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL), body composition, quality of life and blood myokines (secondary endpoints).


The program was safe with patients’ adherence being 94±5%. A significant time-effect was found for virtually all main endpoints (P≤0.004), indicating a training improvement. Similar findings (P≤0.003) were found for ADL tests, total/trunk/leg lean mass, total fat mass, femoral fracture risk and general health perception. No differences were found for blood myokines, except for an acute exertional increase in interleukin-8 at post-training/detraining (P=0.002) and in fatty acid binding protein 3 at detraining (P=0.002).


An intervention including novel exercises for MD patients (e.g., inspiratory muscle training) produced benefits in numerous indicators of physical capacity, and induced a previously unreported shift towards a healthier body composition phenotype.

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