Cochrane Summaries

Trusted evidence. Informed decisions. Better health.

Physical training for asthma

Carson KV, Chandratilleke MG, Picot J, Brinn MP, Esterman AJ, Smith BJ
Published Online: 
1 October 2013

Some people with asthma may show less tolerance to exercise due to worsening asthma symptoms when they exercise or other reasons such as deconditioning. This can prevent them playing sports or attempting to keep fit. Physical training programs for people with asthma have been designed to improve physical fitness, muscle coordination and confidence.

The review of trials found that exercise training (including running, gymnastics, cycling, swimming, weights and walking) was well tolerated among the study participants. This review also found that physical training improved cardiopulmonary fitness and showed some positive effects for health-related quality of life. However, physical training had no significant effect on resting lung function. In summary, people with stable asthma should be encouraged to participate in regular exercise training that is within their capacity without fear of worsening of their asthma symptoms.