Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways, making breathing difficult, and can result in shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. Many people with asthma worry that exercising may trigger their symptoms, but regular physical activity can actually help to improve lung function, reduce inflammation, and enhance overall health and wellbeing. In this blog post, we’ll explore some tips from an exercise physiologist on how to exercise safely and effectively with asthma.
- Consult with your healthcare provider
Before starting any exercise program, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider. Your doctor can evaluate your asthma control and provide guidance on how to exercise safely. They can also help you create an asthma action plan, which outlines steps to take in case of an asthma attack.
- Warm-up and cool-down properly
Warming up and cooling down properly can help to prepare your body for exercise and reduce the risk of asthma symptoms. A good warm-up should include gentle stretching, low-intensity cardio, and breathing exercises to open up the airways. Similarly, a cool-down should include light aerobic activity and stretching to help your body recover and prevent muscle soreness.
- Choose the right type of exercise
Some types of exercise may be more suitable for people with asthma than others. Low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, and cycling can be less likely to trigger asthma symptoms than high-impact exercises like running and team sports. It’s important to choose an activity that you enjoy and that fits your fitness level.
- Monitor your breathing
Monitoring your breathing during exercise can help you to detect early signs of asthma symptoms. It’s important to pay attention to your breathing rate, depth, and pattern. If you experience any difficulty breathing, wheezing, or coughing, take a break and use your inhaler if necessary.
- Use your inhaler before exercise
Using your inhaler before exercise can help to prevent asthma symptoms. Your healthcare provider can advise you on the best way to use your inhaler before exercise. In general, it’s recommended to use your inhaler 10-15 minutes before starting exercise.
- Avoid exercising in extreme temperatures
Exercising in extreme temperatures, such as very cold or very hot weather, can trigger asthma symptoms. Try to exercise indoors or during milder temperatures. If you do exercise outdoors in extreme temperatures, be sure to take extra precautions to prevent asthma symptoms.
- Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated during exercise is important for everyone, but especially for people with asthma. Dehydration can cause the airways to narrow, making breathing more difficult. Be sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise.
In summary, exercising with asthma can be safe and beneficial with the right approach. Consult with your healthcare provider, warm-up and cool-down properly, choose the right type of exercise, monitor your breathing, use your inhaler before exercise, avoid extreme temperatures, and stay hydrated. With these tips, you can enjoy the many benefits of regular physical activity and improve your asthma control.
If you have asthma and need a Melbourne exercise physiologist to monitor your progress and allow you to exercise in a supervised environment, then contact us today.
- American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Exercise-induced Asthma. https://acaai.org/asthma/symptoms/exercise-induced-asthma. Accessed March 19, 2023.
- British Lung Foundation. Exercising with asthma. https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/exercising-with-asthma. Accessed March 19, 2023.
- Global Initiative for Asthma. Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention. https://ginasthma.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05