Cold Air, Physical Activity and the Airways Research Programme (CORP)

How is the airway health influenced by physical activity in cold environments? This is the main question for this research project that started in 2015.


CORP is an ongoing research project led by Dr. Nikolai Stenfors (Umeå University). The project aims to explore the influence of cold environments on physical activity and airway health in elite, healthy and clinical populations.

Comprising epidemiological studies, laboratory-based studies and randomized controlled trials, the Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre is a key collaborator, delivering controlled cold exposure studies in our in-house environmental chamber. Since 2015, five studies have taken place at the Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre.

These studies have focused on developing a qualitative understanding of the symptoms that arise during exercise in the cold in healthy participants as well as participants with asthma and COPD.

In addition, we have explored the influence of environmental temperature on lung function and biomarkers of airway inflammation post-exercise with the aim to develop a mechanistic understanding of the respective roles of cold and exercise in the development of asthma.

Practical Applications

This research is expected to improve understanding of the role of cold air in the development of airway diseases such as asthma, which is common both in the general population and especially in winter endurance athletes such as cross-country skiers.

The studies performed to date have improved understanding of the symptoms that normally arise during exercise in the cold in healthy populations and those with respiratory disease. Future studies aim to test the efficacy of specific interventions to prevent development of exercise-induced asthma in young athletes.

Cooperation and funding:

Dr. Helen Hanstock acts as the project lead at the Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre. SWSRC collaborators include Dr. Glenn Björklund and Alexander Patrician as well as placement students from Mittuniversitetet and the University of Bath (UK).

The project also involves Dr. Mats Ainegren (Sports Tech Research Centre, Mittuniversitetet) as well as a number of external collaborators from Umeå University and Region Jämtland-Härjedalen.

This project is ongoing and has received funding from Visare Norr, FoU-enheten Region Jämtland Härjedalen, Syskonen Perssons donationsfond and Gunhild och Assar Karlssons donationsfond.


Helen Hanstock
Senior Lecturer and Researcher at The Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre