Asthma can be a scary condition, requiring lifelong vigilance to avoid serious issues. However, it doesn’t have to mean giving up on having fun and participating in physical activities.
At Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine in Algonquin, Illinois, our team of asthma treatment specialists can help you create an asthma-friendly exercise plan that lets you be just as active as your peers without endangering your health.
When you breathe, the air travels down your airway. When an asthma attack occurs, the lining of these airways swell, narrowing the airway and making it harder for you to breathe. If you have asthma, you know this results in shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and tightness in the chest.
For that reason, it's important to understand what triggers your asthma, and how to avoid those triggers while still partaking in activities. Common asthma triggers include:
- Intense or heavy-exertion exercise
- Cold weather or high humidity
- Allergens or irritants in the air
- Strong emotions, like laughing, crying, or shouting
- Respiratory illnesses
While exercise is one of the most common causes of asthma attacks, it doesn’t mean that people with asthma should not exercise. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
The importance of exercising
Many asthma treatment plans include medications and precautions to avoid asthma attacks while still remaining active and social. Exercise is a part of maintaining your health, and it can have many benefits.
In fact, exercise has physical, mental, and social benefits, including:
- Boosting your immune system
- Improving mental health
- Weight loss or maintenance, which can lower chances of asthma attacks
- Creating opportunities for social groups, like exercise classes and sports teams
- Improving lung capacity
How to exercise safely when you have asthma
Before you begin exercising, it's important to discuss your asthma triggers and medications with your doctor, and build an exercise plan that will work for you.
If you have severe asthma, focus on short-burst exertion, which includes certain sports and activities. These activities are safer because they allow the lungs time to recover before the next burst of exertion. Short-burst activities include:
You should do most activity in moderate weather, as very cold weather can exacerbate asthma symptoms and increase your chances of an attack. However, many people with asthma develop treatment plans so they can partake in cold weather and heavy exertion sports anyway. It's often a matter of balancing your medication and listening to your body. Regardless of how you decide to exercise, always take precautions and bring your rescue inhaler along for the trip.
If you’d like to learn how to be more active even with your asthma, contact our office at 815-770-5980 for a consultation or use our scheduling tool to request an appointment today.