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Chiropractic Research Review

Is Aerobic Exercise Effective for Asthma Patients?

Although the benefits of aerobic training are well-established, the impact of training on the clinical management of bronchial asthma remains controversial. While exercise may be of great benefit to patients with chronic respiratory diseases, such patients tend to show less tolerance to exercise - and this may be especially true with children who suffer from chronic diseases such as congestive heart failure, COPD and bronchial asthma.

These chronic patients often encounter limiting factors which contribute to a rather sedentary lifestyle.

A study of 42 asthmatic children (8-16 years of age) evaluated the effectiveness of aerobic exercise in managing asthma symptoms. Clinical evaluation, spirometric tests, symptom-limited maximum exercise testing and exercise challenge tests were performed before and after aerobic exercise (by the exercise group) or two months apart (by the control group). Aerobic training consisted primarily of sessions on a cycle ergometer, three times per week for two months (10-15 minutes of warmup/stretching, 30 minutes cycling, 5-minute cooldown).

Results: Clinical scores and occurrence of exercise-induced bronchiospasm (EIB) did not change after aerobic training and did not differ between the two groups; however, aerobic improvement was associated with a significant short-term reduction in medication scores and use of inhaled and oral steroids. Less-fit asthmatic children were able to normalize aerobic fitness under supervision without complications.

The authors admit that exercise-based management of asthma remains controversial, but hope that further research will help determine which profile of childhood asthma may be most likely to respond to exercise therapy.

Neder JA, Nery LE, Silva AC, et al. Short term effects of aerobic training in the clinical management of moderate to severe asthma in children. Thorax 1999:54, pp202-206.

Chiropractic Research Review

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