Aerobic exercise training without weight loss reduces dyspnea on exertion in obese women

Vipa Bernhardt, Jonathon L. Stickford, Dharini M. Bhammar, Tony G. Babb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Dyspnea on exertion (DOE) is a common symptom in obesity. We investigated whether aerobic exercise training without weight loss could reduce DOE. Twenty-two otherwise healthy obese women participated in a 12-week supervised aerobic exercise training program, exercising 30min/day at 70-80% heart rate reserve, 4 days/week. Subjects were grouped based on their Ratings of Perceived Breathlessness (RPB) during constant load 60W cycling: +DOE (n=12, RPB≥4, 37±7 years, 34±4kg/m2) and -DOE (n=10, RPB≤2, 32±6 years, 33±3kg/m2). No significant differences between the groups in body composition, pulmonary function, or cardiorespiratory fitness were observed pre-training. Post-training,peak was improved significantly in both groups (+DOE: 12±7, -DOE: 14±8%). RPB was significantly decreased in the +DOE (4.7±1.0-2.5±1.0) and remained low in the -DOE group (1.2±0.6-1.3±1.0) (interaction p<0.001). The reduction in RPB was not significantly correlated with the improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness. Aerobic exercise training improved cardiorespiratory fitness and DOE and thus appears to be an effective treatment for DOE in obese women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-70
Number of pages7
JournalRespiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
StatePublished - Jan 15 2016


  • Breathlessness
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Exercise
  • Obesity
  • Shortness of breath

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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