This study aims to investigate and compare the effects of conventional breathing exercises and an inspiratory muscle training intervention on clinical symptoms in asthma patients. Sixty asthma patients (40-65 years old) were randomly assigned to either the conventional breathing exercises (BTE) or inspiratory muscle training (IMT) group for a 12-week intervention period. Outcome measurements were performed before and after the intervention, including the spirometry data, maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressures (PImax and PEmax), asthma control test, asthma control questionnaire, six-minute walk test, and three-day physical activity log, were recorded. PImax expressed as % of predicted value controlled for age and gender in healthy subjects (% predicted) increased by 16.92% (82.45% to 99.38%, p < 0.05) in the BTE group and by 29.84% (71.19% to 101.03%, p < 0.05) in the IMT group. Except for forced vital capacity, which was reduced in the BTE group, all other measured variables improved in both groups, and no statistically significant between-group differences were found. IMT appears to be more effective than breathing exercise intervention in promoting improvements in respiratory muscle strength. IMT may act as an alternative to conventional breathing exercises for middle-aged and elderly asthma patients.
Keywords: asthma; breathing exercise; forced vital capacity (FVC); inspiratory muscle training; maximal inspiratory pressure (PImax).