Background: To assess the efficacy of progressive resistance training (PRT) in increasing strength and lean body mass (LBM) in HIV-infected adults.
Methods: Twenty-five adults with HIV infection were trained using a highly intensive PRT regimen for 8 weeks, followed by an additional 8 weeks of observation under ad libitum physical activity conditions.
Results: Twenty-four of the 25 patients completed the first phase of the study. They had significant increases in strength on all four exercises tested (P<0.0001), and an increase in LBM of 1.75±1.94kg (mean±SD, P<0.0002), with a concomitant decline in fat of 0.92±2.22kg (P<0.05), and no significant change in weight or bone mineral content. Twenty-one of the patients returned for follow-up 8 weeks after completing the PRT. Compared with their baseline values, their mean lean mass remained 1.40±1.8kg higher (P<0.003). Among those who continued to train to some extent, lean mass increased by a mean of 1.1±1.6kg (n=9, P<0.05 versus end of PRT), whereas those who did no further training showed an increase in lean mass of 0.28±1.4kg (n=12, P=NS versus end of PRT). The difference between the two groups was not, however, significant (P=0.25). Among six patients with AIDS wasting, the increase in LBM was larger than among non-wasted patients (2.8 versus 1.4kg, P<0.06), and there was an increase in both weight (+3.9 versus -0.2kg, P<0.002) and fat mass (+ 0.95 versus -1.5kg, P<0.002) at 8 weeks, which persisted at 16 weeks (weight: +4.0 versus -1.6kg, P<0.0002; fat: +1.6 versus -1.9kg, P<0.01).
Conclusion: This preliminary study suggests that short-term, high intensity PRT can significantly increase LBM and strength in HIV infection, and may be used as an alternative or adjunct to pharmacological anabolic treatments in this disease.
From the *Department of Community Health, and † Tupper Research Institute, Department of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA; ‡ Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA; and § Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, New England Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA.
Sponsorship: This work was supported by NIH grant DK45734 and through the General Clinical Research Center funded by the Division of Research Resources of the NIH under grant M01-RR00054, and by a gift from the Keiser Sports Health Equipment Company.
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Requests for reprints to: Ronenn Roubenoff, MD, MHS, Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory, Jean Mayer USDA HNRCA, Tufts University, 711 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA.
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Date of receipt: 2 September 1998; revised: 28 October 1998; accepted: 4 November 1998