People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) have a 70-80% higher risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), and the risk may increase with age. Two major risk factors that are increased are low aerobic capacity (maximal VO2) and increased serum triglyceride levels. Purpose: To test the effect of moderate intensity physical activity on aerobic capacity and serum triglyceride levels in HIV-infected adult men and women. Methods: 114 individuals were randomized to a physical activity group (PA) or non-exercise control group (CON). PA participated in a 6-week program consisting of two weekly 30 minute bouts of moderate intensity physical activity and 30 minute bouts of resistance training. CON attended the research center for the equivalent amount of time and were allowed to read or watch television. A graded exercise stress test and blood analysis was performed before and after the physical activity program for each participant. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to compare variables within groups, with between group analysis using ANOVA/Tukey post-hoc analysis. Results: Baseline aerobic capacity across groups was approximately 25% below age and gender predicted levels. PA participants showed a 21% increase in aerobic capacity. Baseline blood analysis placed the average triglyceride level in the borderline high range. PA showed a significant reduction in triglyceride level (155±70 to 110±30 mg/dl) with no change in the CON participants. Conclusion: These results indicate that moderate intensity physical activity increases aerobic capacity and reduces serum triglyceride levels. The findings suggest that physical activity can significantly affect important risk factors for cardiovascular disease in PLWHA.
- HIV interventions,
- physical activity
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