Aerobic and resistance exercise in heart failure inpatients: a scoping review

Ivo Lopes*, Bruno Delgado, Patrício Costa, José Miguel Padilha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Exercise performance is an essential tool for managing heart failure. Although the benefits of exercise are well documented for people with chronic and stable heart failure, there is still no consensus on their prescription in patients hospitalized with acute heart failure undergoing clinical stabilization. The aim of this study is to identify the literature on exercise programs encompassing the components of aerobic and resistance training for hospitalized patients admitted for acute heart failure. A scoping review was conducted according to the proposed methodology of the Joanna Briggs Institute. Studies with adults over 18 years old, hospitalized, and diagnosed with acute heart failure who participated in aerobic and resistance exercise training programs during their hospital stay were included. Three studies met the inclusion criteria. One was a retrospective, observational analytical cohort study, in which the main outcome of the exercise program was improvement in the previous disabilities of the participants. The other two were multicenter randomized controlled studies that showed greater improvement in physical function, functional capacity, depression, quality of life, and frailty status in the intervention groups. The exercise prescriptions differed according to the principles of the exercise prescription—frequency of exercise, intensity of exercise, exercise time (duration), type (mode), exercise volume, and progression. It is too early to make recommendations based on evidence of the type structure of an exercise program with aerobic and strength-training components in this population. However, in the exercise programs of the reviewed studies, the predominance of light to moderate intensity and the importance of progressively increase the frequency and duration of the training sessions were demonstrated, with bicycle ergometers and walking being the most common types of aerobic exercises. It is recommended that investment and research in this area should continue with more methodologically robust studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077-1089
Number of pages13
JournalHeart Failure Reviews
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Endurance training
  • Heart failure
  • Inpatients
  • Resistance training


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