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Changes in cardiorespiratory fitness, psychological wellbeing, quality of life, and vocational status following a 12 month cardiac exercise rehabilitation programme


OBJECTIVE To examine and evaluate improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, psychological wellbeing, quality of life, and vocational status in postmyocardial infarction patients during and after a comprehensive 12 month exercise rehabilitation programme.

SUBJECTS The sample population comprised 124 patients with a clinical diagnosis of myocardial infarction (122 men and two women).

INTERVENTIONS 62 patients were randomly allocated to a regular weekly aerobic training programme, three times a week for 12 months, and compared with 62 matched controls who did not receive any formal exercise training. A five year follow up questionnaire/interview was subsequently conducted on this population to determine selected vocational/lifestyle changes.

RESULTS Significant improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness (p < 0.01–0.001), psychological profiles (p < 0.05–0.001), and quality of life scores (p < 0.001) were recorded in the treatment population when compared with their matched controls. Although there were no significant differences in mortality, a larger percentage of the regular exercisers resumed full time employment and they returned to work earlier than the controls. Controls took lighter jobs, lost more time from work, and suffered more non-fatal reinfarctions (p < 0.05–0.01).

CONCLUSIONS Regularly supervised and prolonged aerobic exercise training improves cardiorespiratory fitness, psychological status, and quality of life. The trained population also had a reduction in morbidity following myocardial infarction, and significant improvement in vocational status over a five year follow up period.

  • myocardial infarction
  • exercise training
  • fitness
  • quality of life

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