Pedometers Improve Physical Activity in Patients with COPD

Study results show that providing pedometers to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and encouraging them to use them is associated with an increase in how much those patients exercised.

Study results show that providing pedometers to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and encouraging them to use them is associated with an increase in how much those patients exercised.

In the European Respiratory Journal (ERJ), Laura Mendoza and her colleagues included 97 patients with similar smoking habits and COPD severity, with half being given pedometers (n=50) and the control group (n=47) only being encouraged to exercise. Encouragement was considered instructing participants to walk at least 30 minutes a day.

“The aim of this randomized controlled trial was, therefore, to determine if a three month pedometer-based program could be useful to increase daily step count in stable outpatients with COPD,” the investigators wrote.

Comparing their steps to their seven day baseline measurements, the authors noted that the pedometer subset had significantly improved their daily walking versus the control group (3080±3254 steps·day−1 versus 138.3±1950 steps·day−1 [p<0.001]; SGRQ −8.8±12.2 versus −3.8±10.9 [p=0.01]; CAT score −3.5±5.5 versus −0.6±6.6 [p=0.001]; and 6MWD 12.4±34.6 versus −0.7±24.4&thinsp;m [p=0.02]).

Moreover, the investigators found 38 percent of patients in the control group experienced one or more acute exacerbations of COPD (AECOPD), compared to 19.2 percent of patients using pedometers (p=0.03).

In light of their findings, the authors claimed pedometers — a low-cost and impersonal tool — not only effectively encouraged physical activity in COPD patients, but led to better health outcomes and increased quality of life.

“This [study] supports the concept that a simple consumer device, combined with a relatively low level of face to face support, can have an important impact on this key determinant of outcome in COPD,” they concluded.