Aerobic conditioning in mild asthma decreases the hyperpnea of exercise and improves exercise and ventilatory capacity

Teal S. Hallstrand, Peter W. Bates, Robert B. Schoene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Study objective: To determine the effect of an aerobic conditioning program on fitness, respiratory physiology, and resting lung function in patients with mild asthma. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: Outpatient rehabilitation facility. Methods: Five patients with mild intermittent asthma and five normal control subjects completed a 10-week aerobic conditioning program. Pulmonary function studies and noninvasive cardiopulmonary exercise tests were performed before and after the conditioning program. Results: After aerobic conditioning, there were significant gains in maximum oxygen consumption (V̇O2max; 22.73 mL/kg/min vs 25.29 mL/kg/min, p = 0.01, asthma; 22.94 mL/kg/min vs 27.85 mL/kg/min, p = 0.03, control) and anaerobic threshold (0.99 L/min vs 1.09 L/min, p = 0.03, asthma; 0.89 L/min vs 1.13 L/min, p = 0.01, control) in both groups. Although FEV1 was unchanged, the maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV) improved in the asthma group (96.0 L/min vs 108.2 L/min, p = 0.08, asthma; 134.0 L/min vs 131.2 L/min, p = 0.35, control). During exercise, minute ventilation (V̇E) for each level of work was decreased in the asthma group after conditioning, while little change occurred in the control group (68.48 L/min vs 51.70 L/min at initial V̇O2max, p = 0.02, asthma; 65.82 L/min vs 63.12 L/min at initial V̇O2max, p = 0.60, control). A significant decrease in the ventilatory equivalent (V̇E/oxygen consumption, 40.8 vs 30.4 at V̇O2max, p = 0.02, asthma; 37.2 vs 35.8 4 at V̇O2max, p = 0.02, control) and the dyspnea index (V̇E/MVV) at submaximal (0.44 vs 0.38, p = 0.05, asthma; 0.32 vs 0.38, p < 0.01, control) and maximal exercise (0.72 vs 0.63, p = 0.03, asthma; 0.49 vs 0.62, p = 0.02, control) occurred in the asthma group. Conclusions: Exercise rehabilitation improves aerobic fitness in both asthmatic and nonasthmatic participants of a 10-week aerobic fitness program. Additional benefits of improved ventilatory capacity and decreased hyperpnea of exercise occurred in patients with mild asthma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1460-1469
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


  • Asthma
  • Exercise-induced bronchospasm
  • Rehabilitation

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