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21-06-2010 | Respiratory | Article

Exercise helps improve asthma control


Free abstract

MedWire News: A structured exercise intervention can help improve asthma control in adults with the respiratory condition, results from a Canadian study show.

“Exercise interventions involving adults with asthma have shown improvements in measures such as lung function, quality of life, breathlessness, and controller therapy,” explain Shilpa Dogra (York University, Toronto, Ontario) and team.

But they add: “A direct association between asthma control and exercise, however, has not yet been made.”

For the current study, the researchers studied 36 inactive patients with partly controlled asthma who were aged at least 18 years. Of these, 21 participants who expressed a preference were assigned to a 12-week, supervised exercise program followed by a 12-week period of self-administered exercise, while the other 15 patients were instructed to maintain their current lifestyle.

There were no significant differences between the groups regarding age, gender, and baseline body mass index, lung function, and use of asthma medications.

The main focus of the exercise sessions, which took place three times a week for the first 12 weeks, was aerobic training, but one set per week included strength exercises targeting the major muscle groups.

The researchers found that there were no significant changes in lung function expressed in terms of the FEV1/forced vital capacity ratio or percent of predicted FEV1 after the 12-week intervention period or at the 24-week follow-up in the exercise group compared with the control group.

However, patients in the exercise group showed a significant improvement in asthma control over the initial intervention period, from a mean score on the Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) of 1.30 at baseline to 0.72 at week 12. In contrast, asthma control among controls worsened over the same period, from a mean baseline score of 0.90 to 0.99 at 12 weeks.

Patients in the exercise groups also experienced significant improvements in quality of life by week 12 and significant improvements in overall aerobic fitness by week 24. No such improvements were noted in the control group.

Dogra and team summarize in the European Respiratory Journal: “We found that a 12-week supervised exercise intervention led to improvements in asthma control and quality of life in partly controlled adults with asthma who were interested in exercising.

“Additionally, supervised exercise followed by a period of self-administered exercise maintained the improved asthma control levels and resulted in significant improvements in aerobic fitness and perceived asthma control.”

They conclude: “These findings indicate that a structured exercise intervention can improve asthma control.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Mark Cowen

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