Swimming beneficial for young people with asthma



Melbourne: Swimming can provide health benefits for young people with asthma, a new study has found.

Researchers from the Breathe Well Centre of Research Excellence at the University Of Tasmania School Of Medicine found swimming benefits young asthma sufferers, with no adverse effects on asthma control or exacerbations.
Asthma is a common condition among children and adolescents causing intermittent wheezing, coughing and chest tightness.

Director of Paediatric Education at the Royal Hobart Hospital Dr Sean Beggs, who assisted in the research, said concerns that physical exercise such as swimming could worsen asthma, had the potential to reduce participation, resulting in reduced physical fitness.

"The review aimed to determine the effectiveness and safety of swimming training in children and adolescents with asthma aged 18 years and under," Beggs said.

"Our research found swimming training is well-tolerated in children and adolescents with stable asthma, and increases physical and cardio-pulmonary fitness as well as lung function," Beggs added.

The research reviewed evidence from eight studies involving 262 participants and combined the results to see if swimming was a safe and beneficial activity for young people.

The Asthma Foundation of Tasmania (AFT) Chief Executive Officer Cathy Beswick said the outcome of the project would ensure swimmers with respiratory problems achieved the best outcomes when trying to improve their health.

"Anecdotally it is understood swimming is an outstanding form of exercise for children and adults with asthma, but there have been concerns that it might have an impact on asthma control or even induce exacerbations," Beswick said.

"This research provides a strong scientific foundation for deciding who to recommend this form of exercise to and the type of exercise they should undertake," Beswick added.

The review has been published in the Cochrane Library.

PTI