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Breathe easy

Year-round exercise could be the key to fighting asthma, with frequency more important than intensity, say scientists

By Katie Barnes, Spa Business | Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 11
Moderate, regular exercise is the key to sufferers having better control of their asthma / photo: shutterstock.com
Moderate, regular exercise is the key to sufferers having better control of their asthma/ photo: shutterstock.com
Just 30 minutes a day of walking, riding a bike, doing yoga – anything active – can result in a significant reduction of asthma symptoms

An estimated 235 million people have asthma globally, according to the World Health Organisation. Many of these people report difficulty in controlling the chronic disease, which can lead to them suffering an asthma attack – sudden shortness of breath and wheezing. During the attacks, the lining of the bronchial tubes swells, restricting the amount of air reaching the lungs.

However, new research suggests that exercising for 30 minutes a day may help keep these symptoms in check, despite the traditional belief that working out could actually trigger an attack.

A study of adults
In the study, published in BMJ Open Respiratory Research in October*, experts from a number of Canadian institutions analysed the exercise habits of 643 patients diagnosed with asthma. Unlike most asthma studies which focus on children, this one was based on adults who had an average age of 53.

The participants filled out three questionnaires which focused on their ability to control asthma, their quality of life as asthma sufferers, and a one-year exercise recall to assess their leisure time physical activity (LPTA). The LPTA questionnaire took into account the intensity of exercise and activity levels in the summer (May to October) and winter (November to April) when temperatures are cooler.

No need to be strenuous
The findings from the study were clear. Those who engaged in the most exercise and met recommended physical activity guidelines – doing around 30 minutes’ exercise on most days of the week – were nearly two and a half times more likely to have good control of their asthma systems compared to those sufferers who did no exercise at all.

Initially it appeared that participants who worked out more intensely had the best control over their asthma. However, these findings were less significant when other variables such as age and gender were taken into account. This led the scientists to believe that a workout doesn’t really have to be strenuous.

“We’re not talking about running marathons,” explains Simon Bacon, the study’s lead author and an exercise scientist at Concordia University in Montreal. “Just 30 minutes a day of walking, riding a bike, doing yoga – anything active – can result in a significant reduction of asthma symptoms.”

Bacon acknowledges the challenges of getting active when suffering from asthma, but says simple precautions can be taken to avoid additional discomfort. He explains: “The issue of exercise-induced bronchospasm is real, but if you use your reliever medication – your blue puffer – before you exercise, and then take time to cool down afterwards, you should be OK.”

Year-round exercise
Another key finding from the study was that “undertaking physical activity during winter, rather than summer, was a stronger predictor of better asthma control”. This is something to bear in mind from November to April, when fitness levels tend to drop along with the temperature, and when cold air provides another trigger for asthma symptoms.

“Our study shows that those who were able to engage in physical activity on a regular basis year-round benefit most,” says Bacon. If the outdoors is a no-go in the colder months, he suggests working out in a gym or at home.

He’s hopeful the findings of the study could lead to an exercise prescription. He concludes: “It would be great to see physicians recommending physical activity to patients with asthma, alongside traditional pharmacological treatments.”

http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/50516_980354.jpg
Year-round exercise could be the key to fighting asthma, says new research
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features

Breathe easy

Year-round exercise could be the key to fighting asthma, with frequency more important than intensity, say scientists

By Katie Barnes, Spa Business | Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 11
Moderate, regular exercise is the key to sufferers having better control of their asthma / photo: shutterstock.com
Moderate, regular exercise is the key to sufferers having better control of their asthma/ photo: shutterstock.com
Just 30 minutes a day of walking, riding a bike, doing yoga – anything active – can result in a significant reduction of asthma symptoms

An estimated 235 million people have asthma globally, according to the World Health Organisation. Many of these people report difficulty in controlling the chronic disease, which can lead to them suffering an asthma attack – sudden shortness of breath and wheezing. During the attacks, the lining of the bronchial tubes swells, restricting the amount of air reaching the lungs.

However, new research suggests that exercising for 30 minutes a day may help keep these symptoms in check, despite the traditional belief that working out could actually trigger an attack.

A study of adults
In the study, published in BMJ Open Respiratory Research in October*, experts from a number of Canadian institutions analysed the exercise habits of 643 patients diagnosed with asthma. Unlike most asthma studies which focus on children, this one was based on adults who had an average age of 53.

The participants filled out three questionnaires which focused on their ability to control asthma, their quality of life as asthma sufferers, and a one-year exercise recall to assess their leisure time physical activity (LPTA). The LPTA questionnaire took into account the intensity of exercise and activity levels in the summer (May to October) and winter (November to April) when temperatures are cooler.

No need to be strenuous
The findings from the study were clear. Those who engaged in the most exercise and met recommended physical activity guidelines – doing around 30 minutes’ exercise on most days of the week – were nearly two and a half times more likely to have good control of their asthma systems compared to those sufferers who did no exercise at all.

Initially it appeared that participants who worked out more intensely had the best control over their asthma. However, these findings were less significant when other variables such as age and gender were taken into account. This led the scientists to believe that a workout doesn’t really have to be strenuous.

“We’re not talking about running marathons,” explains Simon Bacon, the study’s lead author and an exercise scientist at Concordia University in Montreal. “Just 30 minutes a day of walking, riding a bike, doing yoga – anything active – can result in a significant reduction of asthma symptoms.”

Bacon acknowledges the challenges of getting active when suffering from asthma, but says simple precautions can be taken to avoid additional discomfort. He explains: “The issue of exercise-induced bronchospasm is real, but if you use your reliever medication – your blue puffer – before you exercise, and then take time to cool down afterwards, you should be OK.”

Year-round exercise
Another key finding from the study was that “undertaking physical activity during winter, rather than summer, was a stronger predictor of better asthma control”. This is something to bear in mind from November to April, when fitness levels tend to drop along with the temperature, and when cold air provides another trigger for asthma symptoms.

“Our study shows that those who were able to engage in physical activity on a regular basis year-round benefit most,” says Bacon. If the outdoors is a no-go in the colder months, he suggests working out in a gym or at home.

He’s hopeful the findings of the study could lead to an exercise prescription. He concludes: “It would be great to see physicians recommending physical activity to patients with asthma, alongside traditional pharmacological treatments.”

http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/50516_980354.jpg
Year-round exercise could be the key to fighting asthma, says new research
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Mid-market health club operator Total Fitness has acquired Pro-Fit Personal Training. The deal follows a ...
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PureGym is set to become the second largest fitness operator in Europe, after revealing plans ...
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The Glass House Retreat, a new eco-friendly health and wellness retreat, has opened in Bulphan, ...
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Featured supplier: GLL chooses Ethitec’s Tiara9 system for its exercise-based public health referral schemes
The Tiara9 system has been selected by leisure trust, GLL, to support the nationwide rollout of its Healthwise GP referral programme.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: Gympass expands in Ireland with flagship operator Gym Plus
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Company profile: Healthcheck Services Ltd
Here at Healthcheck Services, we want to empower you, your clients & your staff to ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Incorpore Ltd
Incorpore is a leading fitness and wellness company who have been successfully delivering solutions to ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Locking solutions
Ojmar: Locking solutions
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Professional services
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Hutchison Technologies: Audio visual
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Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
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Diary dates
21-23 Jan 2020
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Diary dates
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Ericsson Exhibition Hall, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
29-30 Jan 2020
Holiday Inn San Francisco-Golden Gateway, San Francisco, United States
Diary dates
23-25 Mar 2020
Hilton, Barcelona, Spain
Diary dates
25-26 Mar 2020
Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
19-24 Apr 2020
tbc, Beijing, China
Diary dates
04 Jun 2020
Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
10-27 Jun 2020
tbc, Pinggu, China
Diary dates
13 Jun 2020
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
17-18 Jun 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
30-31 Oct 2020
NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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