To assess the effect of a training protocol on aerobic and anaerobic fitness in children with asthma.
Sixteen boys (mean age: 13 years; range: 10-16 years) with mild-to-moderate asthma participated in a rehabilitation program that included 6 weeks of individualized training on a cycle ergometer. Two groups were randomly formed: the control group (CG, n = 7) and the training group (TG, n = 9), which exercised at an intensity set at the heart rate corresponding to the ventilatory threshold, with 1-minute sprints against the maximal aerobic power (MAP) every 4 minutes. Session duration was 45 minutes, 3 sessions per week. Changes in maximal oxygen uptake (VO(2)max), MAP, short-term peak power (PP), and pulmonary function were assessed.
Two patients of the training group did not complete the study. Pulmonary function remained unchanged in both groups. Improvement in both aerobic and anaerobic fitness was significant only in the training group (TG vs CG): VO(2)max +18% +/- 2.1% versus +9% +/- 4.5% (P <.05), MAP +32% +/- 5% versus 12% +/- 7% (P <.05), PP +21% +/- 5.7% versus +8.8% +/- 10% (P <.01).
Exercise training with high-intensity bouts is well tolerated in children with mild-to-moderate asthma. When included in a global rehabilitation program, this type of training improves both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Anaerobic activities should be considered in sports rehabilitation programs for children with asthma.