Exercise Programmes for Patients with Chronic Heart Failure
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- Meyer, T., Kindermann, M. & Kindermann, W. Sports Med (2004) 34: 939. doi:10.2165/00007256-200434140-00001
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The safety and efficacy of exercise training in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) have been reported in a large number of scientific studies, with endurance training representing the most frequently applied training stimulus. Beneath the common continuous method of endurance training, the interval method (short bouts of intense exercise interspersed with pre-scheduled rest intervals), was also applied in some studies. Ergometric testing is a prerequisite for all individualised training prescription and is an appropriate method of efficacy documentation. However, there is a surprisingly large range of exercise intensities being prescribed to patients with CHF. Most of the prescription models refer to maximal ergometric measurements. Submaximal references from lactate and ventilatory curves represent an alternative method in measuring accuracy and efficacy of training. The course of heart rate during submaximal incremental exercise can be reliably used to indicate endurance gains in CHF. Some positive reports exist for carefully executed strength endurance training for patients with CHF and there are convincing arguments for the use of coordination and flexibility exercises; however, substantial scientific evidence is lacking.