The aim of this study was to compare aerobic and resistance training in children with cystic fibrosis (CF) admitted to hospital with an intercurrent pulmonary infection with a control group. The subjects were randomized into three groups on the first day of admission. The fat-free mass (FFM) was calculated, using the skin fold thickness from four sites (biceps, triceps, subscapular, and iliac crest). Pulmonary function tests were performed within 36 hr of admission and repeated on discharge from the hospital, and again at 1 month after discharge. All subjects performed an incremental treadmill exercise test, using a modified Bruce protocol. Lower limb strength was measured using a Cybex dynamometer. An assessment of quality of life was made using the Quality of Well Being Scale, as previously reported. Activity levels were measured using a 7-day activity diary, and subjects also wore an accelerometer on their hips. There were no significant differences between the three groups in terms of disease severity, and length of stay in hospital. Subjects in all three groups received intravenous antibiotics and nutritional supplementation as determined by the physician. Children randomized to the aerobic training group participated in aerobic activities for five sessions, each of 30-min duration, a week. The children randomized to the resistance training group exercised both upper and lower limbs against a graded resistance machine. Subjects in the control group received standard chest physiotherapy.
Our study demonstrated that children who received aerobic training had significantly better peak aerobic capacity, activity levels, and quality of life than children who received the resistance training program. Children who received resistance training had better weight gain (total mass, as well as fat-free mass), lung function, and leg strength than children who received aerobic training.
A combination of aerobic and resistance training may be the best training program, and future studies to assess optimal training programs for CF patients are indicated. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2002; 33:194–200. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.