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Exercise the best way to keep on top of asthma

A New Zealand fitness expert is urging Kiwis to exercise more to help beat asthma.

Today is world asthma day and Exercise NZ chief executive Richard Beddie says keeping fit with exercise is great way for managing asthma.

In New Zealand respiratory disease, which includes asthma, affects one in six Kiwis, or about 700,000 people. More than half a million New Zealanders take medication to control asthma.

One in seven children, and one in nine adults, have asthma in New Zealand. It’s also estimated that 586,000 school days are lost each year due to asthma related symptoms in children.

New Zealand has the fourth highest hospital admission rates for asthma of all OECD countries with the proportion of Pasifika and Maori children admitted twice as high as European children.

“Aerobic exercise particularly helps as its involved in strengthening the oxygen delivery process in the body, and the muscles involved in breathing,” Beddie says.

“For most, the safest forms of activity are more “stop and go” type activities, rather than long continuous movement, and a gentle warm up and cool down helps too.

“As with any medical condition, if people suffer asthma regularly or severely, they should check with their doctor before starting into any new exercise activities and seek good advice and support from a registered exercise professional when they start a new exercise routine.”

Estimates suggest up to 10 per cent of the asthma population have a severe form of asthma. In New Zealand, that could equate to more than 52,000 Kiwis who may struggle to control their day-to-day symptoms and continue to have frequent asthma flare-ups, despite taking their maximum prescribed doses of asthma medication.

Around one in three adults with severe asthma are dependent on oral steroids - a treatment which may cause a range of side effects including weight gain.

Asthma is not a condition to be dismissed lightly, causing the deaths of more than 60 people a year according to asthma foundation statistics.

Exercise is now the #1 sport in New Zealand with more than half a million participants and growing research confirms the health benefits of activity for every age.


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