Review: Brief Aerobic Exercise and/or Resistance Training Improves Cardiorespiratory Status, Strength, Body Composition, Depressive Symptoms, QOL in HIV-Infected Adults

A recent systematic review examined the safety and effectiveness of aerobic exercise interventions on several health outcomes in HIV-infected adults. This was an update of a previous systematic 2010 review of 14 studies. Authors searched 11 databases for studies published between 2009 and April 2013. Randomized controlled trials of HIV-infected adults that compared aerobic exercise to no exercise or another exercise intervention performed at least three times per week for at least four weeks were included. Studies included HIV-infected individuals over the age of 18, at all stages of HIV, with or without comorbid conditions. An additional 10 studies were included in the updated search resulting in a final analysis of 24 studies which included 936 HIV-infected adults. More than two-thirds of participants were men and participants in 19/24 studies were on ART. Duration of interventions ranged from 5-52 weeks. Interventions included aerobic exercise alone (n=11) or a combination of aerobic and resistance exercise (n=13). Exercise was associated with improvements in cardiorespiratory status (maximum oxygen consumption, exercise time), strength, body composition (lean body mass, percent body fat, leg muscle area), depressive symptoms, and quality of life (SF-36 questionnaire). No significant differences in maximum heart rate, weight, body mass index, waist or hip circumference, CD4 count or viral load were observed. Safety of the exercise interventions was only reported in half of the included studies. Among these adverse events were reported in five studies, none were attributed to exercise. Authors conclude that among HIV-infected adults aerobic exercise, either alone or in combination with resistance training, at least three times per week for at least five weeks is safe and effective at improving cardiorespiratory status, strength, body composition, depressive symptoms, and quality of life.

By B. Caceres BA, BS, MS, NP and PhD Candidate is a Nurse Clinician and Adj. Instructor at the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, NY, NY

In O’Brien et al.  (2016). Effectiveness of aerobic exercise for adults living with HIV: systematic review and meta-analysis using the Cochrane Collaboration protocol. BMC Infectious Diseases, 16(1), 182.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27112335

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