Exercising With Asthma
A good exercise program is a necessity for anyone to maintain a healthy life, but unfortunately those dealing with asthma often find themselves unable to enjoy much physical activity. Many sports and common exercises are very taxing on the lungs, and the tight-chested short on breath feelings caused by asthma can make these activities uncomfortable or even dangerous for the asthmatic. There are, however, many forms of exercise that can be safely enjoyed even in an asthmatic life, and they may just improve your health and endurance enough to try the activities that were never possible before.
Most people suffering from asthma are very sensitive to temperatures and moisture levels in the air. Strenuous physical activity causes you to breathe more through your mouth than through your nose. Air is usually humidified and warmed as it passes through the nose and into the lungs, but breathing through the mouth during periods of activity effectively bypasses this natural filtration system. Thus, you are allowing cold dry air into your lungs–a discomforting and potentially dangerous trigger for asthma symptoms.
For this reason, cold weather sports should be avoided. Skiing and ice hockey are probably not the best choices for exercising with asthma, and outdoor activities are best taken inside during winter, if at all possible. When all else fails, wearing a scarf over the nose and mouth can be the best possible solution. This will act as a support to your nose in warming and humidifying the air that goes into your lungs. Many endurance sports are likewise poorly suited for those with asthma. Things like distance running, basketball and soccer are best avoided, as they involve long periods of high energy activity. The continuous strain on the lungs caused by these kinds of sports will make them tough to enjoy for people suffering from asthma.
Consider sports that are less strenuous over the long term, and those which involve short periods of exertion with breaks in between. Cycling can be a positive exercise for asthmatics, provided the chose route doesn’t involve much high intensity climbing. Swimming can be a good use of energy as well. Not only is the swimmer breathing warm wet air throughout the workout, but the act of swimming greatly improves upper body strength which has a very positive effect on asthma treatment.
Other good options for exercising with asthma are baseball and football–engaging high energy sports that involve lots of physical activity interspersed with periods of rest. Short distance running and track and field activities can be good candidates as well. Of course, any sport can be made more enjoyable for the asthmatic by carrying an asthma inhaler to calm the lungs.
Asthma should never exclude anyone from a healthy life with fun exercise. Indeed, with quality treatment and dedicated training, asthmatics can excel in any sport or activity. Young asthma sufferers can grow up to be champion cross country runners and competitive cyclists. Keep in mind these guidelines for safe and healthy exercise to get started on the path to fitness and happiness.