Exercise Training May Improve Daily Life For Obese Individuals With Asthma, Study Suggests

By Dr Deepu

Obese adults with asthma have an increased number of comorbidities and reduced daily life physical activity (DLPA), which may worsen asthma symptoms. Exercise is recommended to improve asthma outcomes; however, the benefits of exercise for psychosocial comorbidities and physical activity levels in obese adults with asthma have been poorly investigated.
The objective of the study was assess the effects of exercise on DLPA, asthma symptoms and psychosocial comorbidities in obese adults with asthma. The study included  Fifty-five grade II obese adults with asthma, the study subjects were randomly assigned to either a weight-loss program+exercise program (WL+E group, n=28) or a weight loss program +sham (WL+S group, n=27). The WL+E group incorporated aerobic and resistance muscle training into the weight-loss program (nutrition and psychological therapies), while the WL+S group performed breathing and stretching exercises. DLPA, asthma symptoms, sleep quality and anxiety and  depression  symptoms were quantified before and after treatment.
The results obtained after 3 months were positive, the WL+E group presented a significant increase in daily step counts (3,068 ± 2,325 vs. 729 ± 1,118 steps/day) and the number of asthma-symptom-free days (14.5 ± 9.6 vs. 8.6 ± 11.4 d/mo) compared with the WL+S group. The proportion of participants with improvements in depression symptoms (76.4 vs. 16.6 %) and a lower risk of developing obstructive sleepapnea (56.5 vs. 16.3%) was greater in the WL+E group than in the WL+S group (P<0.05). Significant improvements in sleep efficiency (6.6 ± 5.1 vs. 1.3 ± 4.7%) and latency (-3.7 ± 5.9 vs. 0.2 ± 5.6 min) were also observed in the WL+E group.
The authors concluded that exercise training plus a weight loss program improves DLPA, sleep efficiency and depressionand asthma symptoms in obese adults with asthma.
The three-month program targeted both weight loss and exercise through aerobic and resistance training, the study authors wrote in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
When contacted over the email Dr Celso R F Carvalho gave the following insights into the study "In my opinion, the more important results of our study are the fact that exercise reduced the comorbidities of the obese asthmatic patients. I am not aware of any other non-pharmacological intervention that has presented such strong impact (bariatric surgery or diet support).

This is important because, in our clinical practice, most patients complain about having problems sleeping, lack of energy (sedentarism) and lower self-esteem (maybe due to the depression symptoms).

It is also important to reinforce that the effect in our study is compared with patients having an important support (nutritional and psychological). Then, the exercise had, on average, a 3-fold effect size compared with the "control group".

At last, I consider that the association we evaluated (Figures 4A-D) also suggest (or explain) how improvement in daily steps and depression symptoms are explained."

Read the findings of the study here.


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