Belányi, Kinga; Gyene, István; Bak, Zsuzsa; Mezei, Györgyi
Nowadays, doctors strongly recommend physical activity for asthmatic children, since the resulting improved physical fitness and psychological change also raise the quality of life. The aim of this study was to compare the physical fitness of asthmatic children who regularly participate in therapeutic swimming, with asthmatic children who do not participate in this training and with non-swimming, healthy children using the 12 minute free running, Cooper test. The children from the swimmer asthmatic group (n= 51, age = 9-22 yrs) took part in a special, long term, swimming exercise program (Gyene method). Whereas, the non-swimmer asthmatics (n = 28, age = 8-22 yrs) and the healthy children (n: 179, age: 9-22 yrs) only took part in the normal school physical education classes. Fitness was measured using the Cooper test. Data was collected from 258 subjects and showed that the fitness of swimmer asthmatics is significantly better than that of the non-swimmer asthmatics and even better than that of the healthy subjects (swimmer/ non swimmer asthmatic p = 0.01; swimmer asthmatic/ healthy p test). The difference in the fitness acquired from swimming was the most pronounced for the 8-11 years old asthmatics, presumably because of greater motivational factors. No differences were found between genders for the two asthmatic groups, whereas healthy boys were found to have significantly greater levels of fitness than healthy girls. Fitness is substantially increased with regular swimming. The favourable effects of swimming are expressed not only in comparison with the non-swimmer asthmatics but with the healthy subjects too. The regular therapeutic swimming program helps the formation of running fitness too.