Upper limb and lower limb aerobic ergometry have both demonstrated significant benefit in maximal walking distance (29% and 31% increase in maximal walking distance, respectively) (28). The benefits of this therapy may be related to improved cardiovascular fitness and/or endothelial function.
Resistance training was also noted to improve maximal walking distance in 2 trials. However, in a large randomized trial, resistance training demonstrated no improvement in 6-minute walk test (29) (30).
28. Zwierska I, W. R. (2005). Upper- vs. lower-limb aerobic exercise rehabilitation in patients with symptomatic peripheral arterial disease: a randomized controlled trial. J Vasc Surg, 42(6):1122-1130.
29. McGuigan MR, B. R. (2001). Resistance training in patients with peripheral arterial disease: effect on myosin isoforms, fiber type distribution, and capillary supply to skeletal muscle. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 56(7):B302-B310.
30. Regensteiner JG, S. J. (1996). Exercise training improves functional status in patients with peripheral arterial disease. J Vasc Surg, 23(1):104-115.