This study investigated the effects of 12 weeks bicycle ergometer exercise programme on CD4 cell count and viral loads in 40 male HIV sero positive patients in Kano, Nigeria, aged 39.2 years who were randomly assigned to experimental (n = 20) and control (n = 20) groups. The patients’ pre and post-test anthropometric measurements as well as CD4 cell counts and viral loads were obtained using standard biochemical techniques. Following 5 min warm up, the experimental group participated in 30 min incremental cycle (mechanical brake type) exercise, thrice a week for 12 weeks at 50 to 60% of their maximum heart rate (HR max). Significant increase in pre and post-test values of CD4 cell counts (28%) and reduction of viral loads (34%) were found in the exercise group in contrast to the control group (p < 0.05). It was concluded that regular participation in sub- maximal structured exercise programme could lead to beneficial changes in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive patients.
Key words: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), sub-maximal exercise, CD4 cell count, viral loads
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