Exercise Improves Asthma Symptoms: Get Moving

First Posted: Oct 08, 2015 02:14 PM EDT

Just 30 minutes of exercise a day may be all it takes to help some patients control their asthma symptoms.

Researchers at Concordia University, the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal and other institutions found that those engaged in optimal levels of physical activity on a regular basis were about two-and-a-half times more likely to have steady control over their symptoms when compared to those who didn't exercise.

"We're not talking about running marathons here," Simon Bacon, the study's lead author and a professor in the Department of Exercise Science at Concordia, said in a news release. "Just 30 minutes a day of walking, riding a bike, doing yoga -- anything active, really -- can result in significant reduction of asthma symptoms."

During this recent study, researchers analyzed the exercise habits of 643 participants diagnosed with asthma. From the sample, 100 exercised 30 minutes a day or more while the other 245 were sedentary.

Previous research has discouraged some with asthma from exercising because of the belief that it may increase shortness of breath or heart attack risk. However, health officials are hopeful that the findings prompt many dealing with the health issue to talk with their doctor about physical activity and how it can improve their life, particularly among sedentary patients. 

"We need to keep in mind that doing something is better than nothing, and doing more is better than less. Even the smallest amount of activity is beneficial," Bacon said. "Our study shows that those who were able to engage in physical activity on a regular basis year-round benefit most."

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