University of Oulu

Sirpa A. M. Heikkinen, Elina M. S. Mäkikyrö, Timo T. Hugg, Maritta S. Jaakkola & Jouni J. K. Jaakkola (2018) Effects of regular exercise on asthma control in young adults, Journal of Asthma, 55:7, 726-733, DOI: 10.1080/02770903.2017.1366510

Effects of regular exercise on asthma control in young adults

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Author: Aalto (née Heikkinen), Sirpa A. M.1; Mäkikyrö, Elina M. S.1; Hugg, Timo T.1;
Organizations: 1Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-10-05


Background: According to our systematic literature review, no previous study has assessed potential effects of regular exercise on asthma control among young adults. We hypothesized that regular exercise improves asthma control among young adults.

Methods: We studied 162 subjects with current asthma recruited from a population-based cohort study of 1,623 young adults 20–27 years of age. Asthma control was assessed by the occurrence of asthma-related symptoms, including wheezing, shortness of breath, cough, and phlegm production, during the past 12 months. Asthma symptom score was calculated based on reported frequencies of these symptoms (range: 0–12). Exercise was assessed as hours/week.

Results: In Poisson regression, adjusting for gender, age, smoking, environmental tobacco smoke exposure, and education, the asthma symptom score reduced by 0.09 points per 1 hour of exercise/week (95% CI: 0.00 to 0.17). Applying the “Low exercise” quartile as the reference, “Medium exercise” reduced the asthma symptom score by 0.66 (−0.39 to 1.72), and “High exercise” reduced it significantly by 1.13 (0.03 to 2.22). The effect was strongest among overweight subjects.

Conclusions: Our results provide new evidence that regular exercising among young adults improves their asthma control. Thus, advising about exercise should be included as an important part of asthma self-management in clinical practice.

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Series: Journal of asthma
ISSN: 0277-0903
ISSN-E: 1532-4303
ISSN-L: 0277-0903
Volume: 55
Issue: 7
Pages: 726 - 733
DOI: 10.1080/02770903.2017.1366510
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: This study was supported by research grants by the Academy of Finland Grants No. 129419 (SALVE Research Program), No. 138691, and No. 266314, and by research grants from the Foundation of the Finnish Anti-Tuberculosis Association, the Research Foundation of the Pulmonary Diseases, Jalmari and Rauha Ahokas Foundation, Väinö and Laina Kivi Foundation, Ida Montin Foundation, the Oulu University Hospital, the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation, and the University of Oulu.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 129419
Detailed Information: 129419 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
138691 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
266314 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2017 Taylor & Francis. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Asthma on 05 Oct 2017, available online: