Supervised exercise has shown benefits for subjects with asthma, but little is known about the effectiveness of unsupervised physical activity on this population. We investigated the effects of a 12-week unsupervised pedometer-based physical activity program on daily steps and on clinical and psychological parameters of adults with asthma. Clinically stable adults with moderate to severe asthma were encouraged to take daily 30-minute walks and were randomized to pedometer and control groups. The pedometer group received pedometers and individualized daily step targets. Changes in daily steps (average of steps taken during six consecutive days), six-minute walk test (6MWT), health-related quality of life, asthma control and anxiety and depression levels were assessed 12 weeks after intervention and 24-28 weeks after randomization. Thirty-seven participants were recruited and 30 completed the intervention. At 12 weeks, the groups differed significantly in daily steps (adjusted average difference, 2488 steps; 95% confidence interval [CI], 803 to 4172; p = 0.005) and in the 6MWT (adjusted average difference, 21.9 m; 95% CI, 6.6 to 37.3; p = 0.006). These differences were not significant 24-28 weeks after randomization. The program was effective in increasing daily steps of adults with moderate to severe asthma 12 weeks after intervention.
Keywords: Asthma; anxiety; depression; physical activity; quality of life.