People with asthma have a difficult decision to make when it comes to exercise. Do they try getting the recommended amount of physical activity and risk uncontrollable coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, or play it safe by staying inside all day and adhering to a sedentary lifestyle?

A recent study conducted by researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden has found that young women with asthma who participate in high levels of physical activity have a harder time controlling the symptoms of their condition. But have no fear, asthma sufferers, you do have options.

"It is important to remember that the high level of activity means nothing extreme — in our patient material every third girl exercised that much. Still, we uncovered these results, and with such a distinct gender difference," said lead author Dr. Ludvig Lövström in a statement.

Lövström and his colleagues issued questionnaires to 526 respondents between the ages of 10 and 34 — 408 patients diagnosed with asthma and 118 controls. Respondents were asked to report on their frequency and duration of physical activity. They also completed a number of tests used to gauge control of the respiratory system, including Asthma Control Test (ACT), spirometry, methacholine challenges, and exhaled nitric oxide measurements.

Surprisingly, patients with asthma reported working out more frequently and for longer durations compared to the control group. However, asthma patients who were considered highly physically active had a harder time controlling their asthma, especially the female respondents, compared to asthma patients who were moderately physically active.

Since high levels of physical activity are seemingly out of the question for young females with asthma, what are some of their options for getting the recommended amount of exercise without losing control of their condition? Yoga may seem like an obvious answer, but a recent study conducted by the Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany found that yoga does not help asthma sufferers control their symptoms.

Aerobic activity, on the other hand, has been recommended as an effective solution for asthma patients looking to get a better grasp on their condition. Patients out of a study conducted by the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine in Brazil were able to remedy two factors associated with asthma that make it difficult to breathe — inflammation and a hypersensitive airway — just by adding a three-month treadmill exercise to their treatment regimen.

Source: Malinovschi A, Janson C, Borres M, Nordvall L, Alving K, Emtner M, Lövström L. High levels of physical activity are associated with poorer asthma control in young females but not in males. Respirology. 2015.