Asthma attacks, triggers & remedies: 30-minute exercise curbs symptoms, study reveals

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Oct 08, 2015 06:00 AM EDT

EUGENE, OR - JUNE 24: Galen Rupp wears a mask to help with his asthma in the 5000 meter run during the 2011 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field on June 24, 2011 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) (Photo : Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Asthma affects 18.7 million adults and 6.8 million children in the United States alone, the CDC reports. A new research published in BMJ Open Respiratory Research shows that 30 minutes of exercise is key to controlling the symptoms of asthma, EurekAlert reports.

Researchers from Concordia University, the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, along with other researchers from Université de Quebec en Outaouais, Université de Montpellier, and Université de Quebec à Montreal studied the exercise habits of 643 asthma patients and found that those who regularly engaged in physical activity were 2.5 times more in good control of asthma symptoms than those who did not exercise.

Among the 643 participants, 100 of them experienced controlled levels of asthma symptoms with the use of medication compared to their counterparts who did not exercise.

Researchers note that that asthma patients need not do strenuous exercise, but instead recommend regular routine exercises. According to Simon Bacon the study's lead author and a professor in the Department of Exercise Science at Concordia, "We're not talking about running marathons here. Just 30 minutes a day of walking, riding a bike, doing yoga—anything active, really—can result in significant reduction of asthma symptoms."

Individuals who suffer from asthma are hesitant in participating in exercise, as it my trigger attacks. However, Bacon believes that the more exercise asthma patients perform, the better they would feel. According to Toronto Star, Bacon said, "A lot of people with asthma are very anxious about doing exercise."

Health reports that asthmatic patients should not forget to warm up and cool down after exercise. Brisk walking can do the trick, as it will help a patient's tolerance. A study also showed that asthmatic patients who performed yoga for 10 weeks decreased their medication. According to Dr. Robert Graham, yoga is great for people with asthma because of "Breath control. Breathing exercises can activate more areas of the lung."

Health also reports that according to Indianapolis-based allergist Dr. Mark Holbreich, swimming is one of the best exercises for asthmatic individuals because the horizontal position may help loosen the accumulated mucus in the bottom of the lungs. He said, "The ideal sport for asthmatics is swimming because you’re breathing in air that is highly humidified and often warm."

For individuals who are asthmatic but still pursue exercise, Livestrong recommends to be cautious, always keep an inhaler nearby, and regularly take medication. It is also recommended to check the exercise venue for possible triggers such as pollen, cold air, smog, among others.

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