Asthma sufferers will often avoid exercise, fearing that it will worsen their condition or induce an asthma attack. Whilst it can be the case that exercise triggers symptoms, this should not be a reason for it to be avoided. Many top athletes have asthma, and good management of your symptoms will allow you to build a healthy lifestyle that incorporates exercise.
Exercise and physical activity is an important element of a healthy lifestyle, and is a part of managing your asthma. Weight loss can reduce the risk of an attack. Therefore it’s key that your asthma does not stop you from exercising daily. Likewise, it is important to encourage your children and young people to participate in sport and maintain a healthy lifestyle, so their asthma does not worsen.
There are recommended types of exercise depending on the severity of your asthma, and it is important that you take medical advice when it comes to making your choices.
Our top tips for asthmatics incorporating exercise into their lifestyle are:
- Have a good handle on your asthma management. Know what your triggers are and monitor your lung function and symptoms.
- Know your limits and gradually up your activity level. Rather than immediately introduce a heavy schedule of activities, incorporate walking or cycling more into your day to day life.
- Sports or activities which involve shorter bursts of activity, rather than longer endurance sports, are better for asthmatics.
- Symptoms are aggravated by the introduction of colder air when breathing through your mouth during exercise. Swimming as part of your cardio will naturally ease your symptoms thanks to the warm atmosphere, but strong chemicals can cause tightness of the chest, so swimming pools with a high level of chlorine may not be the best option here.
- Wrapping a scarf around your nose and mouth can be a simple but effective way to stop the cold air aggravating your asthma during winter exercise.
- Always warm up and cool down properly.
Exercise can lower your stress levels, which makes for a happier, healthier life, as well as reducing your likelihood of an asthma attack! It is best to consult your GP before adjusting your exercise levels drastically. Also, ensure you understand how to use your inhaler and are doing so correctly.