Last updated on 07/05/2019

On World Asthma Day today, Asthma Australia is sharing new research findings into how much exercise is best for asthma, in a bid to encourage people with asthma to get winter well. Keeping healthy and well during winter and flu season is a key priority for the 2.7 million people who have asthma in Australia.

The nation’s peak body Asthma Australia says being prepared for winter meant more than taking prescribed preventer medication and getting the flu shot, even though these are key steps to take. Healthy lifestyle factors and living environments can have an enormous role to play.

A new research study into exercise and asthma led by Professor John Upham at the University of Queensland and Dr Hayley Scott at the University of Newcastle is proving that exercise can reduce inflammation in the lungs of people with asthma.

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Exercise research study participant Suzanne Climan of Newcastle is seeing an improvement in her asthma.


Prof John Upham said moderate exercise during winter months is a good thing for asthma. Some people with asthma have avoided exercise in the past because it made them wheezy, but this can usually be prevented with a good warm up and the right medications.

“Even though we have known about the general health benefits of exercise for a long time” said Professor Upham, “we are starting to see evidence that exercise is also good for asthma as it helps reduce inflammation in the air passages”.

Exercise intensity may be crucial however. “It seems that moderate exercise is better than intense exercise,” said Professor Upham, “though more information is needed to define the ideal amount of exercise in asthma”.

This research hopes to determine what exercise offers the greatest benefits to people with asthma and to contribute to more meaningful exercise guidelines. Asthma Australia spokesperson Jo Williams said the benefits of being winter well meant less medical expenses and more vitality.

“Having asthma can be an extra complication and cost in winter. It’s worsened by colds and flu plus other factors like cold dry air,” Ms Williams said. “Winter sees an annual surge in asthma hospitalisations so we’ve developed a Winter Well checklist to cover all bases for asthma,” she said.

The Asthma Australia Winter Well checklist outlines everything a person with asthma should think about this winter. To find the check list, click here.

If cost is a barrier to your asthma management, speak to your GP before winter for advice on how to minimise the cost of your asthma medications. To speak to an Asthma Educator if asthma is impacting you or your family, phone 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) during business hours.