Interventions to Increase Physical Activity in Patients with COPD: A Comprehensive Review

Jason J. Wilson, Brenda O'Neill, Eileen G. Collins, Judy Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


It is unknown how interventions aimed at increasing physical activity (PA), other than traditional pulmonary rehabilitation, are structured and whether they are effective in increasing PA in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The primary aim of this review was to outline the typical components of PA interventions in patients with COPD. This review followed the PRISMA guidelines. A structured literature search of relevant electronic databases from inception to April 2014 was undertaken to outline typical components and examine outcome variables of PA interventions in patients with COPD. Over 12000 articles were screened and 20 relevant studies involving 31 PA interventions were included. Data extracted included patient demographics, components of the PA intervention, PA outcome measures and effects of the intervention. Quality was assessed using the PEDro and CASP scales. There were 13 randomised controlled trials and three randomised trials (PEDro score 5-7/10) and four cohort studies (CASP score 5/10). Interventions varied in duration, number of participant/researcher contacts and mode of delivery. The most common behaviour change techniques included information on when and where (n = 26/31) and how (n = 22/31) to perform PA behaviour and self-monitoring (n = 18/31). Significant between-group differences post-intervention in favour of the PA intervention, compared to a control group or to other PA interventions, in one or more PA assessments were found in 7/16 studies. All seven studies used walking as the main type of PA/exercise. In conclusion, although the components of PA interventions were variable, there is some evidence that PA interventions have the potential to increase PA in patients with COPD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-354
Number of pages6
JournalCOPD: Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 15 Sept 2014


  • activity monitors
  • behaviour change techniques
  • exercise
  • outcome measures


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