Humidity influences exercise capacity in subjects with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB)

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Rationale: Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) increases in cold and dry air and decreases in humid air in subjects with asthma. Few reports have reported on the effect of humid environment upon exercise capacity in subjects with EIB. Objective: The primary aim of the present study was to examine the effect of changing the humidity of the environmental air upon exercise capacity measured by peak oxygen uptake (V̇O2 peak), peak ventilation (V̇Epeak) and peak running speed (V̇peak) and secondarily to assess the influence of environmental humidity upon EIB in subjects suffering from EIB. Methods: Twenty subjects (10-45 years old, male/female:13/7) with diagnosed EIB performed exercise testing under standardised, regular environmental conditions, 20.2 °C (±1.1) and 40% (±3.3) relative humidity [mean (±sd)], and under standardised humid environmental conditions; 19.9 °C (±1.0) and 95% (±1.7) relative humidity in random order on separate days. Lung function was measured before and 1, 3, 6, 10 and 15 min after exercise. Heart rate (HR), oxygen uptake (V̇O2), respiratory gas exchange ratio (RER), breathing frequency (BF) and minute ventilation (V̇E) were measured during exercise. Results: V̇O2 peak and V̇peak increased significantly from 40% to 95% relative humidity of the environmental air, 4.5% and 5.9%, respectively (P = 0.0 0 1). HRpeak increased significantly in the humid environment, while BFpeak decreased significantly. RERpeak and V̇Epeak did not change significantly. Post-exercise reduction in FEV1 (ΔFEV1) and FEF50 (forced expiratory flow at 50% of FVC) (ΔFEF50) significantly decreased after exercise in a humid environment as compared to regular conditions, ΔFEV1: 12% (7,17) vs. 24% (19,29) [mean (95% confidence intervals)], respectively, ΔFEF50: 20% (12,29) vs. 38% (30,46), respectively (P<0.001). Conclusion: Exercise capacity (V̇O2 peak and V̇peak) markedly improved during exercise in humid air in subjects with EIB, whereas EIB was reduced to the half. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




Stensrud, T., Berntsen, S., & Carlsen, K. H. (2006). Humidity influences exercise capacity in subjects with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). Respiratory Medicine, 100(9), 1633–1641.

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