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Walking at least 7,500 steps a day helps reduce asthma symptoms, study says

Walking at least 7,500 steps daily can help control moderate or severe asthma in adults. This is what a study carried out by researchers from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (FM-USP), recently published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

O workselected by the editors of the scientific journal as an article that modifies clinical practice, suggests that medical recommendations and public policies focus efforts on encouraging increased physical activity, instead of focusing on reducing periods of sedentary lifestyle.

Although they are popularly considered exclusionary habits, the practice of physical activity and sedentary behavior can occur concomitantly. This is because the person can be sedentary (spend more than 8 hours working sitting) and be physically active (perform moderate activities for at least 150 minutes per week).

“Most of the time, people mix the two situations: they perform physical activity three times a week, for one hour, but work all day sitting in an office”, explains Celso Ricardo Fernandes de Carvalho, professor of Respiratory Physiotherapy and Physiology at Exerciser of the physiotherapy course at FM-USP and study advisor. “This means that they are active, but also sedentary, that is, they exhibit both behaviors at the same time.”

The scientific literature already indicated that both physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle can modulate the symptoms of asthma – including difficulty breathing, rapid and short breaths and dry cough –, but there was still a lack of in-depth studies on their real impact, so that treatment of the disease, which affects around 6.4 million Brazilians, remains mostly medication-assisted. The objective of this work, which was supported by FAPESP (projects 18/17788-3 , 21/04198-6 It is 22/09628-1 ), investigated this relationship further, considering the variety of related behaviors.

During the study, researchers analyzed data from 426 people from the cities of São Paulo and Londrina with moderate to severe asthma. Assessments of physical activity and sedentary time (actigraphy), clinical control of asthma (Asthma Control Questionnaire – ACQ) and quality of life (Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire) were included. Symptoms of anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) and anthropometric and lung function data were also investigated. Participants were divided into four groups: active/sedentary, active/non-sedentary, inactive/sedentary and inactive/non-sedentary.

“We observed that the more physical activity people with asthma perform, the better they control their disease,” says Fabiano Francisco de Lima, researcher at FM-USP and first author of the work.

More specifically, those who walked at least 7,500 steps during the day showed better scores in the assessment of clinical control of the disease, regardless of also showing sedentary behavior – in fact, sedentary time and obesity were not correlated with the reduction of symptoms. It was also found that this was independent of medication and lung function.

The percentage of patients with controlled asthma was higher in the active/sedentary (43.9%) and active/non-sedentary (43.8%) groups than in the inactive/sedentary (25.4%) and inactive/non-sedentary groups ( 23.9%).

The results also suggest that emotional factors, such as anxiety and depression, also make it difficult to control the disease.

New perspectives

Although the practice of physical activity by people with asthma is already recommended by health professionals, the topic is still viewed with fear by the population. This is because people with asthma suffer from contraction of the airway muscles during attacks.

“The custom of preventing children and adults from exercising due to illness needs to start being broken,” says Lima. “This study contributes to this by suggesting walking, a simple activity with no added cost, and goes further, by offering a kind of ‘cutoff score’, an indication of the real amount of physical activity that the patient should do – 7,500 steps per day.”

According to the researcher, another important recommendation would be for health professionals to start adopting a more focused look at anxiety symptoms as a strategy to control asthma.

Researchers from the Pulmonary Physiotherapy Research Laboratory at the State University of Londrina (UEL) also participated in the study.

The article Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior as Treatable Traits for Clinical Control in Moderate-to-Severe Asthma can be read at: https://www.jaci-inpractice.org/article/S2213-2198(24)00274-5/abstract#%20 .

6 tips to get out of a sedentary lifestyle and start physical activities

Source: CNN Brasil

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