If you suffer from asthma and exercise regularly, you need to more careful with your exercise routine and preparations than other people. Asthma is a condition that causes the bronchi in your lungs to swell, constricting the airways in your lungs, making it difficult for you to breathe.
Exercise Induced Asthma
If you have or are predisposed to asthma, strenuous exercise can bring on severe asthma attacks. This is especially true if you also have respiratory allergies and you’re exercising during allergy season. Exercise induced asthma is just as dangerous, if not more so than a regular asthma attack since your body’s oxygen demand will be much higher during exercise than during restful activities. Even people who have mild cases of asthma that rarely require inhalers or other forms of medications are susceptible to exercise induced asthma attacks. Again, this is because of the increased oxygen demand made by the muscles during exercise. The more intense the exercise, the greater the demand and the greater the risk of an exercise induced asthma flare up.
Respiratory System Becoming Stressed
If you already have severe asthma and don’t do proper warm-ups prior to strenuous exercise, you can accidentally induce an extremely severe asthma flare up. This can possibly push you into respiratory arrest. Without immediate medical attention and proper treatment, this can prove fatal in many cases. Respiratory therapists recommend a period of no less than five to ten minutes of light exercise and stretching prior to any strenuous exercise. If you warm up your body and your respiratory system prior to strenuous exercise, not only will you reduce the chances of injuring muscles and tendons, but you will also decrease the risks of causing a severe asthma attack.
One of the most severe risk factors of exercise induced asthma, also known as EIA, is cardiac stress. This risk factor is caused by the inability of your lungs to accept and process enough oxygen during your normal respiratory cycles during periods of extreme exertion. If your body is making oxygen demands that your lungs are incapable of fulfilling at your target heart rate, your heart is going to have to work harder to pump more blood in order to meet those demands. If this continues for an extended period of time, just as with any other muscle in your body, you can put too much strain on your heart by making it work too hard during periods of extreme exertion.
Ways to Reduce Risks of Exercise Induced Asthma
As stated, one of the best and easiest ways to reduce your risk of exercise induced asthma is to perform a proper warm up prior to beginning your actual exercise regimen. This can be a short, five to ten minute aerobic regimen to loosen the muscles and get your heart rate slightly elevated prior to a good stretching regimen. Stay away from cold weather sports if you are susceptible to asthma or asthma like attacks, as the colder air is dryer and will exacerbate these conditions.