Effect of an exercise consultation on maintenance of physical activity after completion of phase III exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation
Aims: The primary aim of this randomised-controlled trial was to evaluate the effect of an exercise consultation (experimental condition) compared with standard exercise information (control condition) on maintenance of physical activity six and 12 months following completion of a phase III hospital-based exercise programme. Secondary aims included assessing the effect of an exercise consultation compared with exercise information on physiological and psychological variables at six and 12 months. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that the exercise consultation was more effective than exercise information in maintaining self-reported physical activity for 12 months after completion of a phase III exercise programme. However, the change in CSA accelerometer readings over the 12-month study period did not parallel the significant decrease in self-reported physical activity observed in the control group. The exercise consultation was not effective in maintaining exercise capacity for 12 months after completion of phase III. Significant decreases in peak VO2 from baseline to 12 months were observed in both groups. In contrast, an improvement in the VO2 at the lactate threshold, which is an index of submaximal endurance capacity, was recorded in the experimental group compared to the control group from baseline to follow-up. Finally, the exercise consultation had no significant effect on processes of exercise behaviour change, lipid profile and psychological function. These variables were normal at baseline and were maintained over the study period in both groups. The results of this study demonstrate that the exercise consultation may be an effective intervention for maintaining physical activity after completion of phase III hospital-based exercise programmes. The exercise consultation is a minimal intervention that could be delivered by physiotherapists to patients at the end of phase III or by British Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation (BACR) trained exercise instructors to patients in phase IV.