Yoga and breathing techniques combined with aerobic training are particularly important exercises for asthmatic people looking to improve their lung function, according to a study. The study, which was released today in the Annals of Medicine journal, emphasises the significance of including the right type of exercise training in asthma management strategies.
According to lead author Shuangtao Xing, an Associate Professor at the School of Physical Education at Henan Normal University, the results show just how effective particular types of exercise training can be to improve lung function for those adults.
“Breathing training combined with aerobic training, and yoga training, appear to be particularly advantageous – offering potential avenues for effective treatment approaches,” he stated. “Larger, well-designed randomized controlled trials are now needed to more accurately estimate the benefits of exercise training for individuals with asthma.”
Asthma, a chronic lung condition that affects around 339 million people worldwide, causes symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. In the past, exercise was considered a potential risk factor for individuals with asthma, as it was believed to trigger or worsen acute asthma attacks.
However, recent studies have revealed that exercise training can actually enhance respiratory function and exercise capacity in adult patients. However, variations in the specific exercise interventions in existing randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have made it challenging to compare the effectiveness of different rehabilitation programs.
To address this issue, the current study conducts a network meta-analysis, which enables a simultaneous comparison of results from multiple treatments in a single analysis, to compare the effects of multiple types of exercise training on lung function in adults with asthma.
The analysis included a total of 28 RCTs involving 2,155 people with asthma and examined the effects of breathing training, aerobic training, relaxation training, yoga training, and breathing combined with aerobic training, on lung function.
Furthermore, the researchers applied a statistical technique to rank the effects of different exercise treatments against each other. Relaxation training showed the most significant effect on improving FEV1 levels, breathing combined with aerobic exercise had the most significant effect on improving FVC levels, and yoga training had the most significant effect on improving PEF levels.
“These findings should provide valuable insight for healthcare professionals prescribing exercise training for the management of adult asthma patients. However, it is essential to consider individual factors, such as family history, duration of the condition, and environmental influences, when designing exercise rehabilitation programs.
Tailoring interventions to individual physical and mental health conditions, with careful consideration of exercise intensity, frequency and duration, is important for optimizing treatment outcomes,” said Shuangtao Xing.