According to a recent pilot study, children suffering from bronchiectasis may benefit from a playful therapeutic exercise program that leads to better fitness and basic movement skills (FMS).
In 11 children who received the 7-week therapeutic exercise program, mean locomotor scores improved significantly from 29.0 at baseline to 35.2 after the intervention (p=0.01). In comparison, the values at 10 controls remained largely unchanged, increasing only slightly from 31.6 to 31.8. [Front Pediatr 2022;doi:10.3389/fped.2022.953429]
The same was true for the object control scores, which improved from a mean of 27.0 at baseline to 35.5 at 7 weeks in the exercise program group (p=0.01), while they remained relatively constant in the controls (mean 31.0 to 32:3). Parameters of FMS were measured using the gross motor development test.
The researchers also assessed the participants’ cardiorespiratory fitness by looking at the percent change in heart rate during a submaximal treadmill test and comparing it before and after the exercise program.
They found that in children assigned to the exercise program, the change in heart rate during the treadmill test decreased by six percentage points after the intervention. In controls, cardiorespiratory fitness remained largely unchanged, with change in heart rate decreasing by only 0.9 percentage points.
“The program had a moderately positive effect on cardiorespiratory fitness,” the researchers said. “Although the small sample size precluded statistical significance, the observed effect size…was consistent with that reported for improvements in aerobic fitness in asthmatic children.” Completing movement training.” [Clin Rehabil 2001;15:360-370]
These improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness were not associated with perceived athletic proficiency after the program (p=0.63).
Quality of life was also unaffected by the playful exercise program and did not lead to any significant changes in physical, emotional, social and school-related quality of life or the total score of the PedsQL 4.0 questionnaire.
In the present study, patients assigned to the therapeutic exercise program underwent a combination of supervised and unsupervised exercise. Each week, the children participated in a 60-minute exercise session led by a clinical exercise physiologist, which was then supplemented by a home program that participants were to complete 2 days per week.
Supervised sessions consisted of six activity stations that the children rotated through; Each station included activities and games aimed at specific FMS parameters. The activities were also chosen to be developmentally appropriate and tailored to the fitness and ability of the participants. The home sessions consisted of the last two games the child was involved in during the supervised sessions.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study evaluating the effects of a therapeutic exercise program on FMS ability in children with chronic respiratory disease. The improvements in FMS that resulted from the seven-session program were not only statistically significant but also clinically meaningful,” the researchers said.
“The results are sufficiently positive to warrant conducting a larger randomized controlled trial testing the effectiveness of the exercise program in children with bronchiectasis and/or other chronic respiratory diseases,” they added.