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Physical activity for asthma patients improves asthma control

Presented By
Dr Morten Hostrup, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
NLC 2022
Although it can be challenging to prescribe exercise to asthma patients, physical activity proves to be a valuable intervention as it improves asthma control. However, patients should not overdo it, as excessive vigorous training increases the risk of developing asthma and asthma-related conditions.

Dr Morten Hostrup (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) emphasised that people with asthma should be physically active. “A systematic review and meta-analysis of 11 randomised-controlled trials assessing the effects of aerobic exercise training for 8 weeks or longer showed that this type of exercise (including walking, jogging, spinning, and treadmill running) can potentially improve asthma control and lung function. However, it does not have any effect on airway inflammation [1].” Exercise combined with a high protein/low glycemic index diet in non-obese asthma patients leads to improved asthma control compared to only diet or only exercise. Nevertheless, this combination does not affect airway hyperresponsiveness or airway inflammation [2]. Dr Hostrup also pointed out that aerobic exercise training effectively improves asthma outcomes in persons with obesity and that this effect may be larger in women.

For those asthma patients wishing to engage in very vigorous training such as high-intensity interval training, Dr Hostrup stated that they could safely do so, but should keep a short-acting beta-2 agonist nearby. “High-intensity interval training has demonstrated to effectively improve maximal oxygen consumption and peak power output in asthma patients who are untrained, regardless of the individual levels of asthma control, forced expiratory volume in one second, fraction of exhaled nitric oxide, and airway hyperresponsiveness [3,4].”

  1. Hansen ESH, et al. Eur Respir J. 2020;56(1):2000146.

  2. Toennessen LL, et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2018;6(3):803–811.

  3. Toennessen LL, et al. Eur Clin Respir J, 2018;5(1):1468714.

  4. Hostrup M. Exercise adaptations and prescriptions in COPD. Nordic Lung Congress 2022, 01–03 June, Copenhagen, Denmark.


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