Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a treatable and preventable disease with some extrapulmonary features that might contribute to its severity. Among these effects, it can be underlined the lower levels of physical activities in daily life (PADL) as well as cardiac autonomic disfunction. Pulmonary rehabilitation programs are recommended for those simptomatic patients in order to generate positive physiological benefits. However, so far, little is known whether different modalities of physical exercise training may yield different benefits on PADL and cardiac autonomic function in patients with COPD. Therefore, the aim of this study is to verify the effect of two exercise programs (one consisting of high-intensity exercise modalities, another consisting of low-intensity exercise modalities) on PADL and autonomic cardiac function in patients with moderate to severe COPD. Also, we aim to verify eventual determinants on changes in cardiac autonomic function (Heart rate variability, HRV) as well as the training effects in several disease outcomes. Forty patients with COPD (moderate to severe) will be assessed regarding PADL and HRV before and after two physical exercise protocols (high-intensity exercise program, n=20; low-intensity exercise program, n=20). Furthermore, all subjects will be assessed regarding health-related quality of life, functional status, dyspnea sensation, peripheral and respiratory muscle force and exercise capacity.
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