Exercising when you have asthma

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Asthma is a common condition that affects the lungs and airways, which can cause breathing difficulties. Typically, asthma starts in childhood and can remain a medical condition throughout adulthood. While you cannot cure asthma, it can be effectively managed, and most sufferers can lead a healthy life.

Given the effect asthma can have on the respiratory system, having asthma can make you reluctant to exercise, or you may feel like it’s holding you or your children back. No parent wants to see their child sat on the sidelines watching their friends play sports, just as no adult wants to be left behind either. It’s true, exercise can be more challenging with asthma, and you may have anxieties over how your asthma may inhibit activity. You’re not alone, it is a common worry amongst asthma patients and parents alike, but it is important to remember that exercising when you have asthma isn’t impossible. In fact, undertaking exercise may be beneficial for your asthma.

The benefits of regular exercise are well known. It can help maintain a healthy weight, which is vital for controlling your asthma. Cardiovascular exercise can increase your lung capacity and improve your cardiovascular health, and in turn, help to reduce breathlessness. Regular exercise will also support your immune system and help keep viruses and colds at bay. Viruses and colds that are often worsened by asthma. Finally, the feel-good effect of exercise is well documented, and chasing this endorphin high can help reduce low mood and fatigue often caused by asthma.

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Where the benefits outweigh the risks, it’s easy to see why exercising is a good idea. If you still have anxieties over how exercising may affect your or your child’s asthma, you can take steps to alleviate your concerns and facilitate your exercise. Firstly knowing all the medications and triggers is vital. Keep all your prescriptions to hand. If you regularly use Cipla asthma pumps, then make sure that is the pump you take with you. If you require a prevention inhaler ensure you are taking it as prescribed. If you are prescribed tablets for your asthma, again, make sure you are taking them as prescribed and that they always travel with you when you exercise. If you should have an asthma attack when out exercising, having all your medication with you will make it easier should you need to be checked over by a physician. If it is not practical to take all of your medications on the run or to the pool, then at the very least, bring a list of the medicines you take daily.

When it comes to triggers, make sure you know the circumstances that are likely to make your asthma worse. Can the weather affect your asthma, or pollen? Be mindful of the circumstances and if your asthma is likely to be triggered when and where you are exercising. The more awareness and control you have over the circumstances the fewer anxieties you are likely to experience.

Another way to help undertake exercise and decrease worries over exercise is to find the right exercise for you, or your child. It may be that running simply takes too much of a toll on your asthma, and you prefer to walk. You could have a water baby who loves to swim and can spend hours splashing in the pool without causing their asthma to flare up. Other activities such as yoga and golf are a great way to raise the heart rate without adding undue stress to the respiratory system. Spend some time trialing different forms of exercise and find the one you love and best suits you. You will be more inclined to do it if you love it; Don’t let asthma be the reason for an inactive lifestyle.

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