Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Masters of Science (Research)


Health & Leisure

First Advisor

Dr. Alan Ringland


The prevalence of asthma is rapidly increasing throughout the world. Many developed countries have reported a greater incidence and severity of asthma in both adults and children (Woolcock and Peat, 1997). Up to 90% of those diagnosed with asthma will experience some asthma symptoms during or after exercise. This condition is known as Exercise-Induced Asthma (EIA). The severity of the bout of EIA depends mainly on the type, intensity and duration of the exercise session. Environmental conditions, medication and possibly the level of fitness of the individual may also influence EIA (Storms and Joyner, 1999; Guill, 1996; Weiler, 1996).

The findings from previous research have been inconclusive in determining whether or not there is a positive relationship between aerobic capacity and lung function (Baker and Weiler, 1997). The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between lung function measurements, the severity of EIA and sub-maximal aerobic capacity in asthmatics. If a positive relationship can be established, it is possible that exercise programmes could be used in the therapeutic treatment of asthma and EIA.

A total of 30 subjects were involved in the study. This group comprised 17 males (age 24 ± 9 years) and 13 females (age 23 ± 6.99 years). All participants in the study had been clinically diagnosed as having asthma. Further detailed screening procedures were followed prior to administering the exercise tests. The exercise phase involved a sub-maximal aerobic capacity test (44.55 ±13.31 followed by a treadmill exercise challenge at 85% of heart rate maximum for six minutes. The PEFR (488.13 ± 116.9 1/min), FVC (4.11 ± 0.97 1), FEV, (3.66 ± 0.79 1), F25 (2.36 ± 0.69 1/s), F50 (4.66 ± 1.29 1/s) and MEF (4.33 ±1.12 1/s) were measured prior to exercise testing. Three subsequent lung function tests were conducted at the following intervals: immediately post-exercise, five minutes post-exercise and ten minutes post-exercise.

The findings from this study indicate a drop in lung function in all parameters following exercise (PEFR: 15%, FEVi: 9.5%, F50: 20%). Ten minutes post-exercise lung function scores started to improve. The V02max was significantly correlated with nearly all lung function values immediately post-exercise (pV02max and lung function were found at 10 minutes post exercise (PEFR: r=0.62, p

This study shows that there is a significant relationship between aerobic capacity and lung function in asthmatics. The correlations were greatest with post-exercise measurements and when controlling for weight. The significant relationship between mid-expiratory flow volumes (F25, F50 and MEF) and V02max evident in this study suggests the need to include these parameters in future research.

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