More than 25 million Americans have asthma. This chronic condition can make breathing difficult, but how severe it is can vary from person to person. Some people only experience mild shortness of breath, while others suffer intense asthma attacks that can be life-threatening.
Regular exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, and it can improve asthma by strengthening your lungs and immune system. However, when having asthma affects your ability to breathe, and it can affect your ability to participate in sports and other physical activities.
When you have asthma, your airways tend to be sensitive. Allergens or exertion can make your breathing passages swollen and narrow. Narrow airways restrict breathing, trigger coughing, and force you to stop exercising.
Just because you have asthma, it doesn’t mean you can’t stay active and enjoy exercising. At Trinity Salem Family Health Clinic, Yaminah Matthews, APRN, FNP-C, and our team provide chronic disease management, including asthma management. Here are some tips on staying active while also avoiding asthma attacks.
When you exercise, you breathe harder than if you were resting. When you start to breathe heavily, the water in the lining of your lungs evaporates faster, which cools your lungs. However, this drop in temperature can trigger an asthma attack.
To stay active when you have asthma, it’s important to find activities that you enjoy doing that also have a good balance of periods of activity and rest. Some good options might be team sports, like baseball or volleyball, because you’re not constantly in motion.
Other activities like swimming, hiking, or walking offer significant health benefits without being too hard on the lungs. Keep in mind that activities requiring extended periods of exertion, like running or playing soccer, might make you more susceptible to asthma attacks.
If you like working out at the gym, find a fitness center with good ventilation. When you do strength training, increase the number of rest periods between repetitions. You can also participate in CrossFit activities to decrease the intensity of your workout while reaping the benefits of a hard workout.
Before diving into a new activity, make a plan with your healthcare team. Mrs. Matthews can help you come up with a comprehensive care plan so you can live your life confidently, and our team can help you find ways to stay active that fit well with your ability level and asthma symptoms.
By developing a plan to help you stay active safely, you won’t have to worry about asthma keeping you from exercising.
Steps in your health care plan include taking a quick-relief asthma medication before you start exercising and doing longer warmups and cool-downs to help your lungs adjust.
Also, be on alert for early signs of an asthma attack. If you notice an asthma attack coming on, stop exercising immediately. Follow your asthma action plan and take your asthma medication to stop the attack from worsening.
If there’s a specific sport you want to play or an activity you want to do, Mrs. Matthews and our team are here to offer suggestions and tips to make that sport or activity safe for you.
While exercising, you don’t want to have chest pain or any other asthma symptoms. We help you put an asthma action plan in place to make exercise comfortable and enjoyable without risking your health.
If your exercise routine does bring discomfort, don’t hesitate to talk to us about your symptoms. Ask Mrs. Matthews if there are adjustments you can make to your asthma action plan because sometimes those small adjustments are all you need to make participating in your favorite activities a reality.
It’s possible to find safe and healthy ways to stay active when you have asthma. To learn more about coming up with an asthma action plan that works best for you, contact our office in Waxahachie, Texas, by calling or scheduling an appointment online with us today.