All healthcare professionals promote the benefits of exercise and strongly encourage people to be active. This is easier said than done for asthmatics that worry that exercise can be more harm than good. However, being active can actually help your asthma. Approximately 80 percent of asthma sufferers aren’t getting enough exercise because they are worried about triggering an attack.
By engaging in the proper activities, you can have a fun workout and be athletic without risking your health. Exercise improves lung capacity, helps cope with everyday chores (i.e. cleaning, shopping, etc.), and will increase your stamina. As an asthma sufferer, you have to be sure to use an inhaler when engaging in any strenuous physical activity and have it on you at all times, just in case. You should also drink plenty of water. If exercise triggers symptoms, you are either going too hard or your asthma isn’t well controlled and you should reach out to your doctor.
Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous activity that leaves you winded. Studies have shown that adults who took walks up to three times per week for 12 weeks actually improved their asthma symptoms, while also getting fit without provoking an attack.
Yoga is the perfect exercise for people suffering from asthma. Yoga is all about breathing control and therefore activates the lungs while reinforcing your control. A study has shown that a couple of hours of Hatha yoga per week over a 10-week span helped asthma patients decrease their medication doses.
Asthmatics do best with staggered activity instead of prolonged, full-throttle action. You can take a swing and walk to the next tee at a leisurely pace, and golf is also stimulating for the mind. Just be sure to keep an eye out for pollen and other allergens if you have an allergic component to the asthma.
Swimming may be the best higher-intensity workout for asthmatics. Swimmers typically breathe in warm, highly humidified air while also remaining mostly horizontal. The horizontal position may loosen mucus that has accumulated in the bottom of the lungs. However, excessive chlorine exposure can trigger an asthma attack. A rule of thumb is that if you can smell the chlorine, it’s too much.
Baseball and softball have a lot of downtime whether you’re in the dugout, stopped at a base, or hanging out in the outfield. These long periods of downtime are broken up by spurts of high-intensity action. Be sure to use an inhaler 15 to 30 minutes before playing, drink a lot of water in the dugout, and warm up before the game.