Children with asthma and physical exercise: effects of an exercise programme

Clin Rehabil. 2001 Aug;15(4):360-70. doi: 10.1191/026921501678310162.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of a physical exercise programme for children with asthma on an outpatient basis.

Design: Intervention study: a randomized pretest-post-test control group design.

Setting and subjects: Forty-seven children with clinically diagnosed asthma participated in the intervention study, including 34 boys and 13 girls, from 8 to 13 years of age (mean age 10.6).

Interventions: The physical exercise programme consisted of regular group exercises and home exercises for a period of three months. It was based on a theoretical model describing the relationships between physical competence (condition), perceived physical competence, self-esteem and coping behaviour.

Main outcome measures: Maximum incremental exercise test, endurance test, the Self-Perception Profile for Children (CBSK), the Asthma Coping Test (ACBT), lung function and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.

Results: The results showed significant effects of the intervention programme on physical condition. There was a significant improvement of 15 W on the maximal workload (Wmax) (p < 0.001), of 7% on VO2max (oxygen uptake) (p = 0.002) and a significant decrease on heart rate submaximal of 6% (p = 0.001). There was also a significant improvement of 50% in running time measured with the endurance test (p = 0.021). Furthermore, a significant effect of the intervention was seen on coping with asthma (p = 0.003).

Conclusion: It was concluded that participation in the physical exercise programme not only enhanced physical fitness, but also improved coping behaviour with asthma.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Asthma / psychology*
  • Asthma / therapy
  • Bronchoconstriction
  • Child
  • Exercise* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Physical Endurance
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Self Concept
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome