Asthma is a condition in which airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. Asthma can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, a whistling sound (wheezing) when you breathe out and shortness of breath.
Asthma conditions can range from a minor nuisance to a major problem that interferes with daily activities or even causes a life-threatening asthma attack.
Regular exercise is the key to a healthy lifestyle. However, when you suffer from asthma and specifically exercise-induced asthma, exercise activity may be one of the triggers identified that your doctor might tell you to avoid. The preferred term for asthma associated with exercise is actually exercise-induced bronchoconstriction because exercise doesn’t directly cause asthma, but exercise can cause bronchoconstriction, known as the narrowing of airways. Exercise is often one of many factors that can trigger breathing problems. Most patients with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction can exercise by getting treatment for asthma symptoms with asthma medications and preventive measures. Always seek guidance from a doctor to obtain the proper treatment for asthma.
Fortunately, there are still ways to get the workout you need while protecting yourself from sudden asthma attacks. Mitigate your risk and get the most out of your fitness endeavors by using these tips for exercising when you have asthma.
Practice Low-Intensity Workouts
Firstly, when you exercise, try to stick to activities that don’t put too much strain on the lungs and respiratory system. Things like swimming, hiking, short-distance running, and recreational biking are all great options. While some of these activities can be intense, depending on your workout needs, they don’t require constant exertion. As such, they’re less likely to trigger an inflammation response.
Breathe Through Your Nose
Developing the habit of breathing through your nose rather than your mouth when working out is also a useful tip for exercising when you have asthma. When we breathe in through our mouths, there’s no time for the body to add moisture to that air or bring it up to the proper temperature. As such, this method of breathing is more likely to cause a reaction in the lungs. Breathing through your nose, on the other hand, filters the air of allergens and infuses it with moisture, helping to reduce the risk.
Frequently Check Your Oxygen Saturation
Get in the habit, as well, of taking frequent breaks to check your oxygen saturation levels. This step is especially important for those with severe asthma who are at risk for full-fledged respiratory events. By carrying a handheld pulse oximeter sensor with you and understanding how to interpret your readings, you’ll be able to gain insight into your current condition. With this information in mind, you can then judge whether to continue or stop for the day.
Keep a Rescue Inhaler Near at All Times
But just in case you can’t test yourself in time, make sure that you always have a backup inhaler with your prescribed medication so that you can ease your symptoms before they become dangerous. Keep it in a pocket or bag that’s easily accessible, and double-check the amount of medicine inside before leaving for your workout.