University of Oulu

Jaakkola, J.J.K., Aalto, S.A.M., Hernberg, S. et al. Regular exercise improves asthma control in adults: A randomized controlled trial. Sci Rep 9, 12088 (2019).

Regular exercise improves asthma control in adults : a randomized controlled trial

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Author: Jaakkola, Jouni J. K.1,2; Aalto, Sirpa A. M.1,2; Hernberg, Samu1,2;
Organizations: 1Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research (CERH), University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-04-21


We conducted a randomized controlled trial to test the hypothesis that a 24-week exercise intervention improves asthma control in adults. Adults with mild or moderate asthma were randomly assigned to either the exercise intervention group (IG) or the reference group (RG). Participants in IG received an individualized exercising program, including aerobic exercise at least three times a week for ≥30 minutes, muscle training, and stretching. The primary outcome was asthma control, measured by Asthma Control Test (ACT), asthma-related symptoms, and peak expiratory flow (PEF) variability. We estimated the risk (i.e. probability) of improvement in asthma control and the risk difference (RD) between IG and RG. Of 131 subjects (67 IG/64 RG) entered, 105 subjects (51/54) completed the trial (80%), and 89 (44/45) were analysed (68%). The ACT became better among 26 (62%) participants in IG and among 17 (39%) participants in RG. The effect of intervention on improving asthma control was 23% (RD = 0.23, 95% CI 0.027–0.438; P = 0.0320). The intervention also reduced shortness of breath by 30.1% (RD = 0.301, 95% CI 0.109–0.492; P = 0.003). The change in PEF variability was similar in both groups. Regular exercise improves asthma control measured by the ACT, while has little effect on PEF variability.

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Series: Scientific reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
ISSN-E: 2045-2322
ISSN-L: 2045-2322
Volume: 9
Article number: 12088
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-48484-8
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: The study was supported by grants from the GlaxoSmithKline (ISS 115923, PI Prof Maritta Jaakkola), and by the Foundation of the Finnish Anti-Tuberculosis Association, the Research Foundation of the Pulmonary Diseases, the Jalmari and Rauha Ahokas Foundation, the Väinö and Laina Kivi Foundation, and the Ida Montin Foundation. The funders had no influence on the analysis or reporting of the results.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2019. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit