Asthma and exercise? Some would think these two are a bad combo. The fact that exercise may be a probable trigger for asthma attacks, in a condition known as exercise-induced asthma, makes asthmatic people steer clear from the mere thought of maintaining an active lifestyle.
However, the truth is that the ultimate goal of an effective asthma-treatment plan is to minimize and control asthma symptoms so that one can enjoy a good quality of life—and that includes a healthy and active one.
Apparently, individuals with asthma can still engage in certain exercises and other physical activities.
The Benefits of Exercising with Asthma
In case you don’t know, many world-renowned athletes have asthma. There’s runner Jo Pavey, cyclist Bradley Wiggins, and the famous footballer David Beckham.
This sends us a message that asthma is not a hindrance to keeping a normal, healthy life as long as you diligently manage your symptoms. In fact, regular exercise can even help in reducing the occurrence of asthma attacks.
Just as much as exercise helps strengthen your bodily systems, it greatly helps in improving how well your lungs function, making you less breathless during physical activity. Regular workouts also help boost the immune system; in turn, you will be less likely to be affected by common asthma triggers.
Aside from the fact that exercise promotes weight loss—which cuts your risk of asthma attacks—it also releases “feel-good” hormones that keep you away from stress and depression.
To put it simply, exercise is an essential component to a healthy and happy lifestyle.
Best Exercises for Asthma
If you haven’t been a fan of working out ever since, walking is a great exercise to start with for people with asthma. In fact, adults who go for a walk three times a week have shown signs of improved asthma control, as they have not triggered an attack.
This involved 30 minutes of walking with five minutes each of warm-up and cooldown. Yoga, which centers on breathing control, is also a great activity for people with asthma.
According to Robert Graham, MD, breathing exercises are beneficial in activating many areas of the lungs. This makes swimming an ideal sport for asthmatics too.
When taking a dip in the pool, you will be breathing in highly humidified air. Staying in a horizontal position during the activity can also help loosen up mucus that is accumulated in the lungs, which is good news for asthmatics.
Do keep in mind that not all sports activities are A-OK for people with asthma. Examples of these sports are basketball and soccer. These activities usually require the players to run and chase the ball almost nonstop, not giving them enough time to take a break and rest.
Meanwhile, running a short-distance track may not provoke exercise-induced asthma, but running in a marathon can.
While these activities may require you to be cautious at all times, they are not totally out-of-bounds for people with asthma. In fact, NBA player Tyson Chandler has had the condition since 2004. The key is to just make sure that your condition is properly managed and under control.
Controlling Asthma during Exercise
While you shouldn’t allow asthma to get in the way of an active lifestyle, it is still highly important to keep an eye out for any red flags.
To start off, always make sure to consult your doctor before engaging in any exercise programs. He or she will help you decide which activities will be best for you. Also make sure to stick by your action plan before, during, and after any physical activity.
If you begin to experience symptoms of an asthma attack during exercise, stop immediately, and turn to the instructions stated in your action plan. If your symptoms do not get better, seek emergency assistance right away. A health-care provider may likely check on your breathing and pulse oximetry through a Nihon Kohden SpO2 sensor.
Asthma and exercise are not a bad combo, after all. Just make sure to listen to your body at all times, and you’ll see how the pros significantly outweigh the cons. If you notice or begin to experience any strange sensation or if your start feeling any physical discomfort, stop exercising and go to a pulmonologist for a checkup.