How exercise interventions could help people with asthma
Interventions aimed at promoting physical activity in people with asthma could improve their symptoms and quality of life, research suggests
Interventions aimed at promoting physical activity in people with asthma could improve their symptoms and quality of life – according to a new publication from researchers at the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research.
The researchers looked at whether interventions such as aerobic and strength or resistance training, had helped participants with asthma.
Although they found that these interventions worked, patients with asthma may have had difficulty undertaking them because of their difficulty travelling to fitness groups or because the interventions were not suitable for people with additional health conditions.
The team say that digital interventions, such as video appointments, smartwatches and mobile apps, could remove some of these barriers and enable patients to carry out home-based programmes in future.
Professor Andrew Wilson, Centre Co-Lead for Preventing Asthma Attacks, said:
Being physically active is widely recommended for people with asthma. Doing more than 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity has extensive benefits including improved lung function and asthma control. But research has shown that people living with asthma engage in less physical activity and are more sedentary than people without asthma. We wanted to find out whether interventions, such as being asked to perform aerobic exercises a few times a week in group sessions, together with ‘goal setting’, are effective in helping people with asthma be more active.
The team studied interventions that were designed to promote physical activity in adults with asthma. They looked at 25 separate studies from around the world involving 1,849 participants with asthma, to see whether their symptoms and quality of life were changed thanks to the interventions.
Postgraduate researcher Leanne Tyson, is lead author of the publication. This study forms part of Leanne's PhD. She said:
We found that interventions that promote physical activity had significant benefits in terms of increasing physical activity, decreasing time spent sedentary, improving quality of life, and decreasing asthma symptoms. This is really important because helping patients make significant behaviour changes could really improve their outcomes in the long term. Our review also highlights the potential use of digital interventions, which were notably absent. This is important now more than ever as patients have not been able to attend face-to-face support during the Covid-19 pandemic, and services will likely become overwhelmed. Therefore, alternative interventions and methods of delivery need to be considered.
Professor Andrew Wilson and Leanne Tyson are both based at the University of East Anglia. This study was funded by the Asthma UK Centre For Applied Research.
Read the paper
Tyson, L. et al. (2022) ‘A systematic review of the characteristics of interventions that promote physical activity in adults with asthma’, Journal of Health Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1177/13591053211059386.