Exercises like stretching band and dumbbells can relieve some of the symptoms of chronic obstructivus and bronchiolitis obliterans, a condition that can result in bronchitic inflammation and chronic bronchospasm.
But researchers have not found evidence to show that they work effectively to treat these diseases.
“In terms of treatment, the main thing is the effectiveness of the exercise,” said Dr. Mark K. Smith, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association, a nonprofit health care provider.
“If the patient is symptom-free and is having a normal response, then the exercise is probably going to be beneficial.”
To see if stretching band exercises might be effective, Smith and his colleagues at the University of Illinois and the University at Albany in New York ran the same three-legged, knee-bending exercise for 30 minutes twice a week for four weeks.
The exercise consisted of walking on a stretch band for five seconds with the feet flat on the ground.
Afterward, the researchers monitored the results for bronchoalveolar lavage and chest radiographs, as well as for lung function and the inflammation caused by the exercise.
Smith said the results showed that the stretching exercises had no effect on the overall disease outcomes.
The patients were all healthy and well-nourished, and there was no change in the lung function.
“We know stretching band exercise works for a variety of diseases,” Smith said.
“It might help people who have a severe asthma attack, and it might help patients with other conditions, such as chronic obstructives pulmonary disease.”