Yoga and breath control combined with aerobic exercise are especially important exercises for people with asthma who want to improve their lung function, according to a new study from Henan University in China.

A study published in the Annals of Medicine scientific journal shows how effective certain types of exercise are at improving lung function in adults.

“Breathing training combined with aerobic training and yoga sessions appears to be particularly beneficial, offering potential for effective treatment approaches,” said Shuangtao Xing, lead author of the paper.

Asthma, a chronic lung disease that affects an estimated 339 million people worldwide, causes symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness.

In the past, exercise was considered a potential risk factor for people with asthma because it was thought to cause or exacerbate acute asthma attacks. However, recent studies have shown that exercise can indeed improve respiratory function and exercise capacity in adult patients.

However, differences in exercise interventions across existing randomized controlled trials have made it difficult to compare the effectiveness of different rehabilitation programs.

To answer this question, a network meta-analysis was conducted in this new study, which allows for the simultaneous comparison of the results of multiple treatments in a single analysis to compare the effects of multiple types of exercise on lung function in adults with asthma.

The analysis included a total of 28 RCTs in 2155 people with asthma and examined the effects of breathing exercise, aerobic exercise, relaxation training, yoga, and breathing combined with aerobic exercise on lung function.

All five types of exercise were shown to be more effective in improving lung function scores than the control group receiving conventional rehabilitation.

In particular, the study showed that breathing training, aerobic training, relaxation training, yoga, and breathing exercises combined with aerobic training lead to improvements in forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) and peak expiratory flow (PEF). The forced vital capacity (FVC) level and the FEV1/FVC ratio also improved.

In addition, the researchers applied a statistical method to compare the effects of different exercises with each other. Relaxation training showed the most significant effect on increasing FEV1 levels, breathing combined with aerobic exercise had the most significant effect on improving FVC levels, and yoga classes had the most significant effect on improving PSV levels.

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