Adoption of exercise is an important lifestyle modification for patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). The first step in exercise self-management is for patients to understand the benefits and appropriate parameters. The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between exercise knowledge and other characteristics in patients with CVD. A secondary purpose of this study was to determine baseline knowledge of recommended exercise parameters (mode, frequency, duration, and intensity) in this patient population.
This study included 50 patients who were admitted to the hospital for a CVD-related diagnosis. Patients who could not understand English, were not cognitively intact, or had cardiac transplantation or a ventricular assist device placement were excluded. This prospective descriptive study used a sample of convenience recruited from a regional medical center. Patient background and medical information was obtained through chart review and interview. Patients completed a 10-question exercise knowledge test and self-report assessments including the Barnason Cardiac Efficacy Scale, Self-efficacy for Exercise Behavior Scale, and Self-motivation Scale for Compliance. In addition, the Telephone Interview of Cognitive Function was used to characterize cognitive function. Data analysis consisted of descriptive statistics and correlations (P < .05).
Scores on the exercise knowledge test were correlated with scores on the Self-efficacy for Exercise Behavior Scale (r=0.44 and 0.33), Self-motivation Scale for Compliance (r=0.29), and Telephone Interview of Cognitive Function (r=0.28) but not with scores on the Barnason Cardiac Efficacy Scale or age. Fewer than 18% of subjects correctly answered questions regarding recommended exercise mode, intensity, or frequency, but 84% of subjects correctly answered the question regarding recommended exercise duration.
Results suggest that patients with CVD who understand exercise guidelines have greater self-efficacy and motivation for adopting and maintaining exercise behaviors. Exercise knowledge was also directly related to cognitive function but not to age or cardiac symptom self-efficacy. In addition, it appears that most patients do not understand the exercise parameters recommended for secondary prevention of CVD.