Asthma and Exercise: How to Do It Safely

Asthma and exercise do not have to be a risky combination. As an asthma sufferer, there are things you can do to make your workouts safe and enjoyable.

Exercise in Shorter Duration

People with asthma usually cope better with types of exercise where energy is exerted in short duration. A dance class, for example, where you perform a routine for 1 to 2 minutes and then have a chance to catch your breath is a good option. A yoga class where you are able to rest between poses and positions is another example. Sports such as volleyball and baseball are also great options if you have asthma because you are physically active in spurts.

This is not to say that people with asthma cannot endure long and continuous exertion. Many people do. These activities just require more precaution. Swimming is a good option if you have asthma. It allows you to exercise in longer duration and is generally done in warmer weather. This is a better option than endurance sports that are done in cold weather, such as long-distance skiing.

Avoid Exercising in Cold Weather

The combination of cold weather and physical exertion is challenging for many people with asthma. Cold air can cause spasms that restrict the flow of air into the lungs. If exercising in the cold cannot be avoided, consider using inhalers before exercise to reduce the spasms. If possible, use a scarf to cover your mouth and nose to block out the cold air.

Warm Up and Cool Down

Besides avoiding exercise in colder weather, you will want to make sure that you are warming up and cooling down before and after each workout. This ensures that your body is not jolted into action and your heart rate returns to normal at a healthy pace.

Exercise in Clean Environments

Another factor to be aware of is the quality of the air. Is there a lot of pollen in the air? Are you exercising in a polluted area? The cleaner the air is in your exercise environment, the lower the chance of having an asthma attack. If you are exercising indoors, for example, make sure the area is clean and free of dust.

Exercise Regularly

Asthma sufferers should exercise several times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes each time. If you are not feeling well or are recovering from a cold or the flu, give yourself adequate time to return to a healthy state before resuming your regular workouts.

Use an Inhaler

Always bring your inhaler along when you work out. If you do have an asthma attack during a workout, stop and use your inhaler. If your symptoms disappear, you may be able to resume your workout. If they do not, you will want to stop your workout to avoid aggravating your condition further. Be sure to consult your doctor if your condition seems serious.

People with asthma can and should exercise regularly. You just have to choose exercise types that do not tax you body over a long duration or in extreme temperatures. Clean air and adequate warm up and cool down periods will also go a long way in ensuring that your workout is sustainable and enjoyable.


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