If you have asthma, you may feel like you should avoid exercising especially if it worsens your symptoms, but you can and should exercise!
Exercise-induced asthma can occur in people who have chronic asthma, but it also occurs in those who don’t have chronic asthma. This type of asthma is triggered by exercise or physical activity. It occurs when people start to draw breath through their mouth instead of their nose, a common occurrence when exercising, not allowing the air to warm up and humidify before it reaches the lungs. Exercise-induced asthma attacks are triggered by this cold, dry air hitting the lungs.
To reduce the likelihood of an exercise-induced asthma attack, caution and preparation should be used. These tips can help, but as always, consult your doctor for what is appropriate to your individual situation:
- Use your inhaler about 20 to 30 minutes prior to exercise
- Bring your inhaler with you in case you need it
- Keep an eye on the Air Quality Index – avoid exercising outdoors on bad air quality days
- Avoid peak pollen times for running, usually 5am to 10am
- Warm up before exercising and cool down afterwards
- If it’s cold outside, use a scarf or a mask over your nose and mouth.
- Avoid exercising when you are sick
Remember that your asthma shouldn’t limit what you can and can’t do, as long as you take the proper precautions.