If you have asthma, the mere thought of a sweat-drenching, pulse-raising workout might make you fear of an asthma attack. But in reality, exercising with asthma is possible, as long as you take the right precautions.
The expert practitioners at Advance Medical Group with three locations in New Jersey want everyone to enjoy an exercise regimen that supports a healthy body and mind, including those with asthma. If you have asthma and are wondering how to lead an active lifestyle, consider these tips from Advance Medical Group.
The low-down on exercising with asthma
Asthma is a condition in which your airways become inflamed, making it difficult to breathe. There’s no full cure for asthma yet, but it can be managed with prescription medication and lifestyle factors, such as avoiding cigarettes. There are many different types of asthma — with nearly 10 percent of people in the United States having some form of the disease — and exercise is a common trigger.
Certain forms of exercise have the potential to cause asthma attacks, especially in people with severe asthma and exercise-induced asthma. However, as long as your asthma is under control, you too can reap the many benefits of consistent exercise. In fact, daily exercise actually helps to increase your lung capacity and the strength of your lungs, which over time equips your body to utilize more oxygen.
Which types of exercise are best for asthma?
If you have asthma and you’re new to exercise, the most important thing is to ease your way into it. Slowly build up the duration and intensity of your workouts to reduce the possibility of an asthma attack. You should also start with some simple types of exercise that are less likely to trigger asthma symptoms.
Such exercises include yoga, swimming (especially in an indoor pool where the air is very humid), low- to moderate-intensity weightlifting, cycling, and walking. Some sports and recreational activities also serve as great exercise for people with asthma, including golf, frisbee, kayaking, and badminton.
The activities described above are all low- to moderate-intensity and don’t require a rapid breathing rate. Other, higher-intensity exercises aren’t necessarily bad for asthma, but you should talk to your doctor before attempting any high-intensity exercise. And, as mentioned earlier, ease into it — no matter what type of workout you choose.
How to avoid asthma attacks while exercising
Two things are key when exercising with asthma: preparation and body awareness. Prepare by having your inhaler or any other breathing supports you might need during your workout, as well as having an emergency contact on your phone in case something goes wrong. It can also be helpful to tell a gym attendant that you have asthma and ask what their policies are in the case of medical emergencies.
Pay attention to your body while exercising. If a certain form of exercise causes flare-ups, discontinue that exercise until you’ve recovered and spoken with a doctor. It might be helpful to keep a workout journal and note which activities make you feel good and which ones don’t.
To learn more about asthma, visit our asthma FAQ. To talk with an Advance Medical Group asthma specialist, call one of our convenient New Jersey locations today or request an appointment online.