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NemesisClaws 04-29-2014 05:54 PM

Asthma & Exercise
 
Those of you who have asthma to varying degrees, would you mind telling me what kind of exercises you're doing and how you're dealing with your asthma when you do it?

When I try to exercise, my breathing becomes so difficult that I can't even continue, and my fatigue level is literally exhaustion. Everyone always talk about having energy after they exercise....clearly I'm not one of them.

Any tips you can give would be great! Thanks!

alaskanlaughter 04-29-2014 06:10 PM

i have exercise-induced asthma, as well as a variety of allergies and asthma induced by odors, smoke etc...i also carry an epipen because my allergies haven't been pinpointed by a doctor yet

i do running and walking intervals either outside or on a treadmill at the gym...i use my inhaler before i run/walk and keep it with me in case i need it during exercise...i do run/walk intervals because it allows my lungs to take a pause, get some air, and then run again...i like to push myself to run fast (as opposed to a slow jog) because i have a limited amount of time at the gym...and running/walking holds my attention better than an endless slog of slow jogging....when i am on a walking break, i concentrate on my breathing, relaxing to get air deep into my lungs because this is not a natural thing for me

HOWEVER, a doctor's advice for YOU would be the best way to go...and then experimenting with your own body to see what you personally can and can't handle with your lungs

Pattience 04-29-2014 06:13 PM

What exercises have you been trying to do.

Google around for exercise and asthma. I just read one site which didn't mention fatigue. But fatigue is normal when you are unfit. But that doesn't mean you should push on without a care. You could be overdoing it.

It would be best to work with a professional - get advice from doctor, physiotherapist, sports doctor or in a class situation probably something more like tai chi or yoga where you won't be quickly pushing your self hard. Tell any instructor you start out with what your condition is and your experience so far so that they can be sure not to let you over exert yourself and advise you accordingly.

Low seratonin levels can also cause fatigue so if you've had depression or even if not, this could be part of the explanation but its most probably due to standard lack of fitness.

Unfit people have small muscles that means less oxygen gets to the muscles. and that's why unfit people feel fatigue. Runners don't need big muscles in legs and arms but they do have a big strong heart muscle.

But you don't need to be killing yourself at the gym to lose weight. I don't do any formal exercise. I just work in my garden and occasionally take the dog for a walk on the beach. WEight loss is 80% diet.

Of course there are many benefits to exercise and if you are extremely unfit then you do need to increase your activity and fitness level but there's no need to hurry or risk your health in the process.

LovesToTravel 04-29-2014 09:14 PM

Quote:

Those of you who have asthma to varying degrees, would you mind telling me what kind of exercises you're doing and how you're dealing with your asthma when you do it?
I walk, jog, and do a little strength training. The cardio would be impossible on bad asthma days without my inhaler, to be honest. I'm not in a position to give any medical advice so I'd strongly recommend seeing your doctor to discuss ways to manage your condition. You really don't want to mess around and end up giving yourself a bad asthma attack trying to exercise.

LovesToTravel 04-29-2014 09:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pattience (Post 4994438)
What exercises have you been trying to do.

Google around for exercise and asthma. I just read one site which didn't mention fatigue. But fatigue is normal when you are unfit. But that doesn't mean you should push on without a care. You could be overdoing it.

Pattience, I can't tell from your post if you suffer from asthma yourself, but I can tell you from experience that struggling to breathe from asthma symptoms- even if you are very fit and even with the simplest of activities- can quickly become exhausting. Every breath is a monumental struggle for oxygen. NemesisClaws can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's what she was trying to describe.

NemesisClaws 04-30-2014 10:41 PM

Yes, fatigue and lack of breath are my biggest issues when trying to exercise. I'm going to start slow and do yoga and try the walk/jog thing. I do have an inhaler but was wondering when the fatigue part would start easing up. Doing exercises and then feeling like you're completely exhausted to the point that you have to lay down for a while gets old real fast. So I'll do the slower exercises and take it from there.

LovesToTravel 04-30-2014 11:48 PM

That sounds like a good plan. Take it slow, use your inhaler as needed, and check with your doctor if you're still having asthma symptoms during exercise. I had to try a couple of meds before I found what worked best for me (1-2 puffs of albuterol about 10 minutes before starting my workout).

I think if you are patient and manage your asthma well with meds, even with crappy lungs your wind will improve. I went from not being able to jog 1/4 mile without wheezing to running a 5K and feeling fantastic. Hang in there! :)

PUPMOM5 05-01-2014 10:40 AM

I find that bicycling doesn't effect my asthma (however, a big trigger for me is external allergens, so I tend not to go out if everyone has cut their grass, or pollen is sky high, etc.) I do run with the c25k app - I use my rescue inhaler before and keep it with me.

I honestly think that the running has helped improve my lung capacity, but I could also be experiencing some relief in asthma symptoms because I've lost so much weight.

I would go to the doctor and talk to them about it. Are you on a steroid inhaler or do you just have the rescue? I actually can't function at all without my steroid inhaler. I'm using Qvar right now, because my doctor had some concerns about my long long LONG term use of Advair.

nonameslob 05-01-2014 10:50 AM

I have exercise-induced asthma, and over the years I notice my asthma is worse when outdoors. So, I do most of my exercise inside (aside from hiking and biking). I also have an inhaler that I (sometimes) take before exercise (I honestly only usually use it for outdoor activities), which is the only "advice" my doctor has given me in regards to my asthma..to take it every time before I exercise.

I would agree about easing into it. Strength training could also help with your stamina, since as you strengthen your muscles, cardio should become easier on the body and hopefully on the lungs. However, everyone's asthma is different! Push yourself, but not too hard, just until you figure out your limits. Do you have an inhaler you can take prior to exercise or do you just have the rescue inhaler?

One other thing I've learned from hiking is to not let yourself get to the point of being completely out of breath. Once you kind of learn what to look for, this is surprisingly easy. Once you get out of breath, it's hard to continue on...so if you challenge yourself without going past that wall, you can keep going much longer than you might imagine. For me, this means a slow, controlled pace while hiking. I pay attention to my heart rate and if it starts to feel like it's escalating too much, I ease up. I haven't had a single attack on the trail in the year since I started paying attention to this. The faster your heart is beating, the more oxygen you need, but with asthma, you can't get as much oxygen with each breath, so if you let your heart rate get too high, it's nearly impossible to avoid an attack. And the more exercise you do, the stronger your heart, body and lungs will get. For example, when I started at the gym Jan. 2013, my heart rate would get up near 200BPM on the elliptical. Now, I'm lucky if it's 165.

(I could be completely off base with this, but just my observations...)

Eydawn 05-01-2014 07:11 PM

Several questions and points of info... These are based partly on my knowledge as a long time asthma patient, and partly on my knowledge as a registered nurse (and none of what I'm about to say represents my employer or educational institution in any way, shape or form.)

A: Do you just have a rescue inhaler, or are you on a controller of some sort? If you don't like inhaled corticosteroids or combination drugs, perhaps something like Singulair (leukotriene inhibitor, pill form) would work for you. If your baseline is that low level inflammation with tendency to bronchospasm, you need to address the inflammation somehow or you will continue to experience symptoms.

B: When's the last time you had a full checkup? Have you ever been screened for cardiac involvement? Folks with respiratory issues can be more prone to cardiac problems, or you can incorrectly attribute a symptom that's cardiac in nature to the asthma.

I'm a hellacious case in point here... I have vasospastic angina (fatigue, palpitations, chest pressure, syncopal episodes, comes and goes intermittently.) I always figured the fatigue and chest pressure were from bronchospasm, and the syncopal episodes were stress induced or related to low potassium. WRONG! I went way too many years without figuring this out. Please, don't let that be you.

C: Do you have seasonal allergies? Does that affect your asthma control? If so, you might need to be addressing that as well.

D: How often do you have a flare that interferes with your quality of life or sends you to the ER? Don't downplay it... take care of it. It's great that you're trying to exercise, but you can really hurt yourself if you go into this without approaching it correctly.

Food for thought... and things to take with you to the MD office... there's no way that you should be so exhausted at the end of normal exercise that you have to lie down. That does not indicate good asthma control. If your MD doesn't listen well or you feel like you can't communicate with them, find one you can communicate with. That can make *all* the difference.

NemesisClaws 05-01-2014 08:05 PM

I have a rescue inhaler, which does help. Problem is, I live in an attached townhouse built years ago. The neighbors are diehard chain smokers, and love their incense, so every time they do that, the smell drifts over into my place and it can be intense. They're moving out very soon so I'm very grateful for that....

I currently go to a clinic, but after a bad experience there recently, (with a horribly botched pap smear), I'm going to look up a doctor and take it from there. I've been meaning to do that, but just haven't. This definitely gives me a kick in the butt for that.

On my father's side, there is a LONG history of cardiac issues, but I've never had an issue myself that I know of. I'll have to check into that as well because I never thought about it possibly being an issue.

Thank you everyone for your feedback!!!! :)

Sum38 05-01-2014 08:29 PM

I have exercise-induced asthma. I use the inhaler right before my walks. I walk very fast, and at times I am left for gasping for some air.

Interesting though; the thinner I have gotten, I have had less asthma symptoms. I think all the weight around my lungs made my asthma worse.

Brandis 05-01-2014 11:10 PM

An interesting thing about the heart- it doesn't have the oxygen extraction reserve of skeletal muscle(it already uses almost all of the oxygen in blood it receives). The only way to increase its own oxygenation is to dilate the coronary arteries and to increase cardiac output, usually by increasing heart rate. This is counterproductive, because as you struggle to breathe during an asthma attack, you are already not getting enough oxygen. The muscles and the heart are saying they both need more O2, so the cycle increases, but the heart rate going excessively high has the opposite effect. As the heart rate becomes very fast, it has little time to fill with blood, and thus effectively limits the amount of blood being pumped through the body (bring on the fatigue). So your heart doesn't know that it is doing itself more harm than good. The good news is that the heart can get stronger, but you definitely need to get checked out to make sure you don't have other issues. I do not have asthma, but maybe if you got a decent doc to help, you could better control, and get some better exercise tolerance. Just be safe. Asthma attacks are serious, but I am sure you already know that!


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