Strenuous exercise is a common trigger that can exacerbate symptoms in many asthmatics or COPD patients – Add to that the dry, cold air of winter months that can constrict airways and make breathing difficult, and it seems nearly impossible to keep up with a fitness routine once daylight-savings time ends.
Fortunately, even if you do suffer from a chronic lung disease like COPD or asthma, you still have options for staying in shape once the temperatures drop:
- Make sure symptoms are properly controlled – Before you begin any fitness routine or exercise regimen, it’s important to talk with your doctor and take steps to make sure that your symptoms are being properly managed.
- Avoid outdoor, cold-weather sports like skiing, snowboarding or ice skating. While these activities are great cardiovascular workouts, the exposure to the cold air could cause symptoms to flare up.
- Ensure that your inhalers are always kept warm to avoid a cold air spray.
- Be sure to sufficiently warm up and cool down by stretching and walking laps to give your lungs a chance to adjust.
- Drink plenty of liquids, especially water, before, during and after a work out to keep airways from becoming dry.
- Stick to indoor exercises when temperatures drop – Take a yoga or Pilates class or give water aerobics a try to switch up your routine!
The best way to stay in shape and keep up with your exercise routine during the winter months is to take it slow – Use your bronchodilator inhaler, like albuterol, 20 minutes before you begin exercising to keep symptoms at bay and always make sure you have your rescue inhaler nearby in the event of a flare up.