May 27, 2023

Tips to Staying Active With Asthma

Undoubtedly, exercising and being active has infinite benefits to your holistic well being and health. Yet, if you suffer from asthma, you may find it slightly harder to participate in normal activities due to the symptoms. As a result, several asthma patients assume exercise is bad for their condition, which causes them to gain weight and get out of shape. However, several studies have linked obesity and increased asthmatic symptoms. Instead of avoiding working out or not being active, the best option is to actively understand the symptoms and how to effectively manage them.

Why Do I Experience Symptoms During Periods of Activity?

When you are breathing normally, you breathe through your nose. The nasal breathing action warms, filters, and moistens the air before it gets to your lungs. As you exercise, you will most likely breathe much harder and through your mouth to get more air. Doing so will allow air full of pollen and other pollutants that hasn’t been filtered by the nose hairs to enter your lungs. As a result, you may experience asthmatic symptoms from this air.

In addition, when you breathe through your mouth, you breathe in air that is dryer and colder, which causes your lungs to lose moisture. The moisture in your lungs is vital to the body because it cools the moist linings of the lungs. As a result of the loss of moisture, the temperature of your lungs drop, your airways become hyper sensitive, and you will experience asthmatic symptoms. The most common asthmatic symptoms are wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and a feeling of a tight chest. These symptoms will begin when you start exercising or after you finish.

Are There Activities that are Better or Worse for Asthma Patients?

Some activities are actually good for patients suffering from asthma. Simply put, activities that allow you to build up the muscles in your lungs are significantly better. Although no sports or activities are restricted for asthma patients, activities in the cold weather as well as endurance sports, such as cross country are more likely to result in symptoms. However, the following list of activities are ideally beneficial for asthmatic patients.

  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Yoga
  • Hiking
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Biking
  • Pilates

Tips for Staying Active with Asthma

The first and most important step you should take before beginning any exercise plan is to have a discussion with your allergy and asthma specialist. During this discussion, you should let your healthcare provider know the types of physical activities and sports you intend on participating in. In addition, you should let your physician know the symptoms you experience while you are participating in these activities. As a result of your communication, you and your physician can effectively keep your asthma symptoms sidelined and you in the game.

In addition, you can adhere to the following steps to keep your symptoms at bay.

  • Before you start working out or exercising, you should use your rescue or short-acting inhaler 15 to 30 minutes beforehand.
  • If you are prescribed a long-term control medication, make sure you take the medicine as prescribed.
  • If it is cold outside or the air is highly polluted with allergens, you should highly consider working out or exercising inside. You should also exercise inside when the outdoor pollen count is high.
  • Practice breathing through your nose as much as you can.
  • Always warm up before you go into a full fledged work out.
  • Anytime you decide to exercise or workout in colder weather, you should always make sure your nose and mouth are covered with a mask or a scarf.
  • If you are feeling sick, you should avoid working out.
  • After you exercise, always take time to do a cool-down routine.
  • It’s vital that you understand and respect your limits. While you are working out, be careful not to push yourself beyond your limits.
  • In any case, you should always have your inhaler ready and available.
  • Aim to exercise or work out for approximately 30 minutes for at least four to five times a week.
  • Over time, you should effectively increase the amount of time you work out.

Rescue or Short Acting Inhalers

The most common short-acting inhalers or bronchodilators are Proventil, Ventolin, Proventil-HFA, Xopenex, ProAir, and nebulized Albuterol. These are quick-relief or rescue medicines because they are effective at alleviating the asthma symptoms once they have started. Once these medicines are inhaled, they quickly work to relax the constricted muscles around your airways. As your muscles relax, you will breath much easier due to your airways opening up. These medications should be used before you begin exercising to effectively avoid the symptoms. Most importantly, you should make sure you are using your rescue inhaler correctly. Our asthma certified educators can help.

Long-Term Control Medications

In addition to your short-acting inhaler, you may also want to speak with your healthcare provider about the possibility of long-term controller medicines. Also known by anti-inflammatory, controller, or maintenance medicines, long-term controller medicines are highly effective at preventing symptoms by moderating the amount of swelling in your lungs. In addition, these medicines are instrumental at decreasing the amount of mucus produced. Although these medicines work relatively slowly, long-term controller medicines will help keep your asthma symptoms controlled for hours. In order for these medicines to work effectively, you must take them regularly even when you are not experiencing asthma symptoms.

If you are ready to speak to an allergy and asthma specialist, contact us today.