Aerobic exercise should be added to drug treatment in people with asthma say researchers who found it reduces bronchial hyper-responsiveness and systemic inflammation.
The study randomised 58 people with moderate to severe asthma to either a 30 minute yoga breathing exercise twice a week for 12 weeks (sham), or a breathing exercise plus a 35 minute indoor treadmill session twice weekly for 3 months (treatment group).
Bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR) was tested at the beginning and end of the 12-week monitoring period.
BHR fell in those in the aerobic exercise group in one doubling dose of histamine, allowing them to tolerate twice the level of trigger factor before symptoms developed.
Serum proinflammatory cytokines were also reduced and quality of life and asthma exacerbations were also improved.
In addition, aerobic training reduced sputum eosinophils and FeNO in patients with higher inflammation and improves clinical control in patients with worse asthma control.
But BHR did not change in those just given the breathing exercises, reported the researchers from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil in Thorax.
“These findings suggest that adding exercise as an adjunct therapy to pharmacotherapy can improve the main features of asthma pathophysiology,” they concluded.