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Aerobic Training for Asthma Shows Psychosocial Benefits

At three months, program linked to improvements in quality of life, anxiety, and depression

THURSDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In adults with asthma, an aerobic training program may reduce anxiety, depression, and asthma symptoms and improve health-related quality of life, according to research published in the August issue of Chest.

Felipe A.R. Mendes, of the University of São Paulo in Brazil, and colleagues analyzed data from 101 adults with moderate or severe persistent asthma who were randomized to take part in an educational program and breathing exercises alone or combined with a twice-weekly aerobic training program.

The researchers found that, at three months, only the training group had significant improvements in health-related quality of life in regards to physical limitations, symptom frequency, and psychosocial issues. Their anxiety and depression levels and asthma symptom-free days also improved. Patients who started with poorer psychosocial levels at baseline appeared to show greater improvement.

"Our patients presented higher baseline levels of anxiety and depression than a healthy population, and only those submitted to aerobic training showed a reduction of those baseline levels," the authors write. "Previous studies have shown that depression symptoms in patients with asthma reduce their disease control and adherence to clinical treatment. Therefore, we propose that aerobic training can be used as an important support to improve patient adherence to medical treatment."

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