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Sports to manage asthma

Physical activity helps asthmatics breathe better. Simon Bacon, professor in the Department of Exercise Science at Concordia University and researcher at the Centre de recherche de l’Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal (CIUSSS-NIM), was able to scientifically prove for the very first time that, contrary to popular belief, asthma and exercise are compatible.

It is in the interest of the some three million Canadians who suffer from asthma to take up yoga, walking or biking.

Asthmatics who are active for 30 minutes every day are 2.5 times more likely to effectively manage their symptoms such as shortness of breath and coughing. It is therefore in the interest of the some three million Canadians who suffer from asthma to take up yoga, walking or biking, especially since 60% of patients say that they struggle to control their condition.

In a study that compared an active and a sedentary group of asthmatics, Simon Bacon and his collaborators in Québec (Université de Montréal, UQAM and UQO) and France (Université Montpellier) noted that the more physically active the patients, the better they managed their asthma. The benefits are especially significant in people who exercise at least 150 minutes per week. The researchers compared the exercise habits of 643 Canadian asthma patients. Through telephone, online and paper questionnaires, 245 respondents said that they did not exercise at all. Only 100 affirmed that they dedicated 30 minutes a day to physical activity several times a week! But the results did not surprise Prof. Bacon.

In fact, medical professionals often warn asthma patients not to engage in cardiovascular exercise owing to the risk of an asthma attack. By assessing the respiratory condition of the study subjects, Simon Bacon validated the positive correlation between exercise and better asthma management. He now hopes that physicians will start to prescribe pumps and physical activity to their asthma patients!