Even though it may seem tough, exercising is good for your asthma. The truth is, if you’re taking all the steps needed to manage your asthma and keeping your symptoms under control, you should be able to enjoy any type of exercise. Not to mention that giving your lungs a regular workout can reduce your asthma symptoms and improve respiratory strength.
Here are some of the benefits of exercising with asthma:
- Staying active improves lung function and stamina and allows you to feel less breathless.
- Staying active boosts your immune system so you’re less likely to be triggered by coughs and colds.
- Staying active helps with weight loss, overall stress, and reduces your risk of asthma attacks.
Studies show that people who are more physically active as they get older lower their risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
However, it’s important to keep your asthma in check when you exercise. Sticking to a good routine that fits your life and being aware of certain symptoms when exercising is a good way to stay on top of things. Some exercises you may want to start with (because they are easier on your asthma condition) may include:
- Walking. Sixty-nine percent of people with asthma say they enjoy walking as a form of exercise. Use a pedometer to track your steps and challenge yourself each day.
- Badminton or table tennis involve less running than other sports like tennis or racquetball.
- Team sports such as softball, cricket, or volleyball give you time to rest between bursts of activity.
- Swimming is a good all-around exercise, but know that chlorine can trigger some people’s asthma. Look for saltwater pools or swimmable lakes.
- Yoga, pilates or T’ai chi are all great types of workouts for beginners that allow you to move at your own pace. Click here for a little yoga inspiration!
If you plan on exercising in the cold, be sure to wear a face mask to warm the air that you breathe in. If you start to experience asthma symptoms while exercising, stop the activity and take your reliever inhaler so your symptoms don’t get worse. As you exercise more, you’ll become more conditioned and will feel breathless less often. That means you’ll need your inhaler less. Be sure to stop exercising and take your reliever inhaler if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Coughing or wheezing
- Gasping for air or shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Trouble speaking in short sentences
If you have any questions or want to know more about exercising with asthma, contact your Health Advisor!