2Hamidiye Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, University of Health Sciences, İstanbul, Türkiye
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Many patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) experience little or no increase in VO2peak levels with pulmonary rehabilitation because their exercise capabilities are too respiratory-limited to reach an intensity high enough for physiological training. This study aims to investigate the effects of one-leg exercises on the cardiopulmonary system and whether they can find a place in pulmonary rehabilitation for individuals with COPD.
METHODS: Six major databases were searched up to December 2021 without imposing restrictions on publication date, gender, or age. Citations were accepted if they discussed one-leg strengthening or aerobic exercises in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. After reading the full texts, nine papers met the inclusion criteria and were included. Eight of these studies were randomized controlled studies, and one was a prospective cohort study.
RESULTS: In total, 169 subjects including healthy participants were observed. There is insufficient evidence to state that one-leg exercises have the potential to increase VO2peak levels in patients with COPD more than traditional pulmonary rehabilitation options. Perceived dyspnea severity is lower, and leg fatigue is higher in one-leg exercises compared to two-leg exercises. The total work done by individuals with COPD during one-leg exercises was found to be close to that of healthy individuals.
CONCLUSIONS: We think that the possible potential of one-leg exercises focusing on a smaller muscle group can eliminate exercise-induced respiratory and cardiac stress and, therefore, may be included in pulmonary rehabilitation for patients with COPD.