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The doctor’s wrong: light exercise reduces risk of asthma attack

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Thirty minutes of exercise a day could keep asthma attacks away. Although the recommendation goes against standard medical advice, new research has discovered that asthmatics who do daily gentle exercise-such as walking, riding a bike or yoga-are nearly three times less likely to have an attack than a sedentary sufferer.

Doctors advise asthmatics not to exercise in the belief that it causes shortness of breath and triggers attacks. But new research has found that exercise doesn’t cause an attack provided the sufferer takes medication beforehand and cools down afterwards.

And the exercise shouldn’t be strenuous. Any gentle activity for 30 minutes every day is enough, and can reduce the chances of an attack two-and-a-half times.

Researchers from Concordia University tested the approach on 643 asthmatics, 245 of whom said they did not do any physical activity, presumably on the advice of their doctors. But, say the researchers, this is also a reflection of the general population, where 45 per cent don’t exercise.

(Source: BMJ Open Respiratory Research, 2015: 2: e000083)

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