According to a new study from the University of East Anglia, interventions aimed at promoting physical activity in people with asthma could improve their symptoms and quality of life.
The research has been published in the Journal of Health Psychology.
Researchers looked at whether interventions such as aerobic and strength or resistance training helped participants with asthma.
While they found that these interventions worked, patients with asthma may have struggled to perform them because they struggled to travel to fitness groups or because the interventions weren’t appropriate for those with additional health conditions.
But the team said digital interventions — such as video appointments, smartwatches and mobile apps — could remove some of these barriers and allow patients to conduct at-home programs in the future.
Professor Andrew Wilson, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, 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 with asthma exercise less and are more sedentary than people without asthma,” he added.
“We wanted to know whether interventions — such as doing aerobic exercise in group sessions a few times a week, along with goal setting — are effective at making people with asthma more active,” he explained.
The team studied interventions 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 if their symptoms and quality of life had changed thanks to the interventions.
Postdoctoral researcher Leanne Tyson, also of UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “We found that interventions that promote physical activity had significant benefits in terms of increased physical activity, less sedentary work, improvement in quality of life and reduction of asthma symptoms.”
“This is very important because helping patients make significant behavioral changes could really improve their long-term outcomes. Our review also highlights the potential use of digital interventions, which were notably absent,” Tyson added.
“This is now more important than ever as patients have been unable to attend face-to-face support during the Covid-19 pandemic and services are likely to become overwhelmed. Therefore, alternative interventions and delivery methods should be considered.” Tyson concluded.
This study was funded by the Asthma UK Center for Applied Research.
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