When you have asthma, it seems like the last thing you would want to do is to get deliberately out of breath. However, it’s important that people living with asthma get a healthy amount of exercise.
Aerobic exercise keeps your heart healthy. Resistance training builds strength in muscles — including breathing muscles — and healthy bones, plus it makes you less prone to injury and helps you recover faster if you do get an injury. Stretching activities such as yoga can improve flexibility, strength, and range of motion and relax your muscles and joints. Any exercise can reduce symptoms of fatigue and depression and provide social interaction.
What does it involve?
Aerobic exercise can take many forms. Dancing, walking, bicycling — outdoors or on a stationary or recumbent — and climbing stairs are some of the ways you can get an effective workout for your heart and lungs. Swimming in a warm, moist environment can be especially good for those with exercise-induced asthma.
Resistance training such as lifting weights can be done seated, using weights that are as light as you feel comfortable lifting. Even small amounts of weight or resistance – for instance, lifting your arms or legs repeatedly against gravity – can provide benefits.
If you don’t care for structured workouts, be creative. Activities such as gardening and walking a pet can help you stay active and healthy.
Exercise should be somewhat challenging but never a struggle. Whatever type you choose, follow these general safety guidelines: To help prevent sore or pulled muscles, always begin your workout session with a gradual warmup, and take time to cool down afterward. Stay hydrated with plenty of cool liquids, choosing beverages without caffeine.
Exercise improves both lung capacity and blood flow to the lungs, which can help improve asthma symptoms.
Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen. Your doctor may tell you to take some asthma medications before starting a workout or to avoid certain types of physical activity.
Exercise-induced asthma, in which physical activity triggers asthma attacks, may make it harder to exercise, but it’s still important to find an activity that does not trigger your asthma.
Check air quality levels before going outdoors to exercise. If the air quality is poor, or if the weather is especially cold or dry, stay inside for your activity. If you feel short of breath during any activity, stop.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Being Active With Asthma — American Lung Association
Exercising With Asthma — GSK
Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction (Asthma) — Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American