Asthma is a common long-term inflammatory condition involving the airways of the lungs. While it may be caused by various factors, one thing is consistent with this condition: when it comes in contact with a trigger, an asthma attack may occur.
Asthma triggers may vary from person to person, but the most common ones include allergies to dust and food, smoking, infections, and even exercise.
Because strenuous exercise often results in an asthma attack in about 80% of people diagnosed with asthma, physical activity is often left out of the picture in the lifestyle of many asthmatic people. However, this isn’t always the case for everyone.
Exercise and asthma: Is it safe?
While many asthmatic people tend to avoid exercise completely, it is actually advisable to include exercise and other physical activities in your lifestyle if you have asthma. After all, your ultimate goal for asthma treatment should be to maintain a normal and healthy lifestyle, and this can be achieved not only by taking your prescribed medications and eating healthy but also by being physically active.
Make sure to talk to your doctor about your desire to participate in such activities as he or she can include this in your asthma action plan.
To help you achieve this goal, you may be asked to take asthma medications religiously and to constantly monitor symptoms and lung function while gradually integrating exercise into your routine.
Best exercises for asthma
Swimming is considered one of the most recommended exercises for people with asthma as it tends to develop the breathing muscles. Swimming also allows the lungs to be exposed to warm, moist air, which is good for the lungs and is less likely to trigger symptoms. Other great exercises for asthma are yoga, walking, hiking, biking, gymnastics, and golf.
While there is no specific activity that has been made off-limits for people with asthma, some sports are more likely to induce symptoms than others, which includes cold-weather activities like ice hockey and cross-country skiing. Many endurance sports also trigger asthma symptoms, such as long-distance running and soccer.
Exercising tips for asthma
With the right guidance, exercising with asthma is completely possible. Before starting with your physical activity, be sure to warm up first. During the activity, try to channel your breathing through your nose as much as possible. Don’t forget to do a cool-down routine once you are done with your exercise.
While exercise is a great way to enhance your breathing muscles, always remember not to overexert yourself during exercise, especially when you are sick. When the weather is cold, make sure to wear a mask or scarf over your nose and mouth. Avoid exercising outdoors when pollen counts are high or when there is too much air pollution since these usually trigger allergies related to asthma.
To be completely safe, always carry around an albuterol inhaler to provide immediate relief when needed.
Asthma attack during exercise
If asthma symptoms begin to arise during exercise, stop right away and remember the instructions stated in your asthma action plan. Reach for your rescue inhaler right away and use it as directed.
If your symptoms do not get better, seek medical assistance immediately. Once you are receiving treatment in a medical facility, you may be measured for oxygen saturation using a MediAid Spo2 sensor to further monitor your condition.
Exercise is always a recommended routine for anyone who wants to achieve a healthy lifestyle, more so for people with asthma. Before starting an exercise routine, just remember to discuss it with your doctor to make sure that your condition does not worsen over time. Don’t let asthma get in the way of getting the most out of your life.