Although prudent exercise is recommended for most patients with well-controlled asthma, many patients avoid exercise and physical activity because they are concerned about triggering asthma. In a sample of 258 asthma patients (mean age 42 years, 75% women), the objectives of this study were to assess the two-minute walk test and the repeated chair rise test and to compare results to self-reported physical activity recorded with the Paffenbarger Physical Activity and Exercise Index (PAEI). Patients walked a mean of 510 feet, required a mean of 14 seconds for the chair rise test, and reported a mean of 1,810 kilocalories per week from activities, mostly walking. In multivariable analysis, male sex, younger age, more education, lower body mass index, and better short-term asthma control, but not long-term asthma severity, were associated with better performance-based test results and more self-reported physical activity. Better short-term control also was associated with less breathing and leg exertion during both tests. Correlations between the PAEI and performance-based tests were approximately 0.38. Performance-based and self-reported measures provide information about various aspects of exercise capacity and can be used during routine clinical practice to assess physical activity in asthma patients.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00195117.