Aerobic exercise training in an AIDS risk group

A. LaPerriere, Mary Ann Fletcher, M. H. Antoni, N. G. Klimas, G. Ironson, N. Schneiderman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Increases in physical fitness are often associated with improvements in certain chronic diseases, such as hypertension and coronary heart disease. Recent evidence has shown that exercise also influences the neuroendocrine and immune systems, resulting in a potential to benefit those with chronic immunodeficiency diseases. Therefore, exercise may prove to have a profound impact on the management of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Our current work includes the investigation of the immunologic and stress-attenuating effects of an aerobic exercise training program for individuals at risk for AIDS. Upon completion of training, the subjects showed a significant increase in helper/inducer (CD4) cells and the inducer subset (CD45RA+CD4+) which activate suppressor/cytotoxic (CD8) cells. These increases, which average about 50 cells per cubic millimeter, are comparable to those observed in some studies of the AIDS drug azidothymidine (AZT), but without the accompanying side effects. Also, individuals undergoing aerobic training reported no increases in anxiety and depression in response to notification of a positive HIV-1 serologic status. These findings taken together indicate that an aerobic exercise training program may enhance certain critical components of cellular immunity as well as acting as a buffer for the detrimental mood changes that typically accompany stress, thus providing a timely, promising behavioral approach to helping HIV-1 infected individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S53-S57
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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