Weight, Exercise, and Asthma

If you need more motivation to fire up the treadmill, a recent study published in respiratory medical journal, Thorax, reveals that aerobic training decreases bronchial hyperresponsiveness and inflammation in patients with mild to moderate asthma. Essentially, regular aerobic exercise helps relieve the severity of asthma symptoms over time.

You can read the full study here: http://thorax.bmj.com/content/early/2015/05/07/thoraxjnl-2014-206070.full

Patients randomly assigned to a three-month treadmill exercise schedule showed a decrease in inflammation and airway sensitivity. This suggests that in addition to an effective medical treatment, an exercise regimen can help lessen the symptoms and exacerbations of asthma.

On the same topic, recent research supports that there is likely a link between obesity and asthma, with weight loss in obese asthmatics improving their asthma control. Specifically, this weight loss in patients with a BMI of 30 or higher has been shown to improve lung function airway responsiveness to methacholine, a common type of respiratory evaluation. Essentially, obesity can worsen asthma symptoms due to the increased stress on pulmonary function directly and indirectly. Being obese can put you at risk for developing asthma and asthma symptoms, even later in life.

New research on the subject is coming to light (with a new study on the topic here at the Asthma Institute) on the link between asthma and obesity, and it remains an important factor to be addressed in patients who are obese and struggling to manage asthma symptoms.

Asthma UK has put together a page on the topic here: http://www.asthma.org.uk/knowledge-bank-weight-loss

Due to the nature of the disease, with some patients experiencing exercise-induced symptoms, there are a few exercise tips and suggestions for asthmatics to exercise safely. Some types of exercise can be less likely to trigger symptoms than others. One article supports that swimming, walking, leisure biking, racquet sports, and hiking are among the best types of activities to avoid triggering asthma symptoms. Sports like baseball, football, and short-term track and field that involve short bursts of activity with time to rest have been shown to be less likely to trigger symptoms. Ongoing activity in sports such as soccer, basketball, field hockey, and long distance running can increase symptoms. Additionally, cold weather activities are likely to worsen symptoms.

But the good news is that asthmatics can excel at any of these activities with proper treatment! The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology has a helpful reference page for exercise and asthma here: http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/asthma-library/asthma-and-exercise.aspx

Got any tips or stories about exercising with asthma? Leave us a message in the comments or tweet at is @asthmainstitute! We’d love to hear from you!

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