Make sure you consult your doctor before taking any advice from this article.
5.4 million people in the UK receive treatment for asthma. That is made up of 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12). The prevalence of Asthma has been thought to have plateaued since the late 1990s, although the UK still has some of the highest rates in Europe and on average 3 people a day die from asthma.
Asthma is a debilitating condition in which sufferer’s airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. This makes breathing difficult and causes coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Asthma can be experiences in different levels of severity for some, asthma is a small nuisance. However, for others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.
Is it safe to exercise with Asthma?
With Asthma affecting a person’s breathing it can be easy to imagine how difficult getting regular exercise can be for someone who suffers from severe asthma. However, much research indicates that exercise for asthma is safe, improves heart and lung fitness, and enhances quality of life. Many doctors encourage Asthma sufferers to exercise without worrying that their symptoms will get worse.
While it may sound like doing exercise with asthma could be dangerous, as long as it’s done so safely it can be massively beneficial for those suffering with asthma. As raising your heart rate regularly boosts your lung power, increases stamina and reduces breathlessness. Find out more about a healthy heart from the British Heart Foundation.
Preparing to exercise
Before exercising make sure you check you have your preventative prescribe medicine with you, such as a preventer inhaler. Using this before exercise helps to soothe underlying inflammation in the lung meaning your asthma will be less likely to react when you start breathing faster due to exercise. It is important to check with your GP before exercise, they may offer to monitor youmore closely while you’re becoming more active.
Make sure you prepare yourself properly for exercise by warming up properly before exercise, this lets your body adapt to the higher intensity reducing the chances of raising symptoms.
Finding the right activity.
If you are a severe Asthma sufferer, then perhaps hill sprints aren’t the place to start with exercise. Instead how about you try;
Yoga – Due to its focus on deep breathing and opening up the airwaves Yoga can be an excellent form of exercise for those suffering with Asthma. Yoga focuses on slow movement and does not require a high level of cardio endurance which makes for a perfect activity for asthma sufferers.
Walking – Long walks out in the open are a good way of getting fresh air. However, be sure to check on pollen count and if it is a cold day wrap your face with a scarf as the cold air may trigger asthma.
Swimming – Swimming at a slow pace is a great way of receiving a full body work out whilst not exhausting yourself. If you find swimming for too long is causing shortness of breath then reduce the amount, you’re swimming. Do one length of the pool, have a break and then go again until you find a level that is comfortable for you.
See some more exercises to help your Asthma below:
For as good as exercise can be for those suffering from asthma, be sure to monitor yourself careful and not to get carried away. It is important to know your limits and boundaries. If you find you’re coughing and wheezing, or sustained breathlessness this is a good sign you need to stop and use your inhaler, if the symptoms don’t go away it is important to stop for the day.
Let other people know you have asthma so they know what to do in case of an asthma attack.
Listen to your body, know when you’re having good days and when you’re having bad days, if the pollen is particularly high one day, it is okay to skip that day!
Exercise induced asthma
During normal breathing, the air we breathe in is first warmed and moistened by the nasal passages. However, people tend to breathe through their mouths when they exercise, they are inhaling colder and drier air. In exercise-induced asthma, the muscle bands around the airways are sensitive to these changes in temperature and humidity and react by contracting, which tightens the airways. This results in symptoms of exercise-induced asthma.
Although it is important to be aware of exercise induced Asthma you shouldn’t avoid physical activity because of exercise-induced asthma. There is preparation that can be had to prevent asthma symptoms that will allow you to maintain normal physical activity.
Asthma inhalers or bronchodilators used prior to exercise can control and prevent exercise-induced asthma symptoms. In addition to taking medications, warming up prior to exercising and cooling down after exercise can help in asthma prevention. For those with allergies and asthma, exercise should be limited during high pollen days or when temperatures are extremely low and air pollution levels are high.
Can exercise cure asthma?
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Asthma, only treatment. Many Asthma sufferers have found they’re able to manage their symptoms to a level that they live a very normal life. While exercise cannot cure Asthma, if done correctly exercise can certainly have a positive effect on the symptoms associated with Asthma.
If you or anyone you know suffer from Asthma be sure to check out My Pharmacy’s comprehensive range of asthma treatments all available to order online with next day delivery.