Babies and children * Young people

Swimming can relieve asthma symptoms in children

swimming is excellent treatment for symptoms of asthma in children It is effective for children and adolescents

Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise there is, and it can be enjoyed by a wide range of people, from the very youngest to the oldest. Now a new study has shown that swimming is also an excellent treatment for the symptoms of asthma.

In the study, scientists at the Taipei Medical University took a group of children aged between 6 and 12, all of whom suffered from asthma, and divided them into two groups.

One group underwent a 6 month swimming programme in addition to their normal asthma treatment. The other group continued with their treatment but did not take part in the swimming programme.

At the end of the 6 weeks, ALL of the children in the first group showed "significant improvement" in all aspects of their asthma condition, including symptoms, hospitalizations, emergency room visits and school absenteeism.

Other improvements included asthma severity, mouth-breathing, snoring, chest deformity, self-confidence and general feelings of disadvantage.

"Unlike other sports, swimming is unlikely to provoke asthma attacks. In addition to improving asthma, swimming promotes normal physical and psychological development, such as increasing lung volume, developing good breathing techniques and improving general fitness," said lead author, Wang Jeng-Shing.

He added, "Not only is swimming an excellent form of exercise for children with asthma, the health benefits reaped continued to be observed for at least a year after the completion of the swimming program."

The study is reported in the journal Respirology.

This article was published on Fri 21 August 2009

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