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Effects of a 6-month exercise program pilot study on walking economy, peak physiological characteristics, and walking performance in patients with peripheral arterial disease

Authors Crowther R, Leicht, Spinks, Sangla, Quigley, Golledge

Received 19 January 2012

Accepted for publication 1 March 2012

Published 17 April 2012 Volume 2012:8 Pages 225—232


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Robert G Crowther1, Anthony S Leicht1, Warwick L Spinks1, Kunwarjit Sangla2, Frank Quigley2, Jonathan Golledge2,3
1Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia; 2Townsville Hospital, Townsville, Queensland, Australia; 3The Vascular Biology Unit, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Abstract : The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a 6-month exercise program on submaximal walking economy in individuals with peripheral arterial disease and intermittent claudication (PAD-IC). Participants (n = 16) were randomly allocated to either a control PAD-IC group (CPAD-IC, n = 6) which received standard medical therapy, or a treatment PAD-IC group (TPAD-IC; n = 10) which took part in a supervised exercise program. During a graded treadmill test, physiological responses, including oxygen consumption, were assessed to calculate walking economy during submaximal and maximal walking performance. Differences between groups at baseline and post-intervention were analyzed via Kruskal–Wallis tests. At baseline, CPAD-IC and TPAD-IC groups demonstrated similar walking performance and physiological responses. Postintervention, TPAD-IC patients demonstrated significantly lower oxygen consumption during the graded exercise test, and greater maximal walking performance compared to CPAD-IC. These preliminary results indicate that 6 months of regular exercise improves both submaximal walking economy and maximal walking performance, without significant changes in maximal walking economy. Enhanced walking economy may contribute to physiological efficiency, which in turn may improve walking performance as demonstrated by PAD-IC patients following regular exercise programs.

Keywords: vascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, walking economy

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