February 16, 2017

Exercises for Asthma Patient—What to Do and What to Avoid

We know that exercise is good and important for our health. It is fun and it can also reduce stress. But for some asthma patients, exercise can be a living hell. Only after 15 or 20 minutes of exercise, you will start being short of breath, coughing and in some severe cases, even experiencing chest pain. If it often happens to you everytime you start exercising, it means you suffer from exercise-induced asthma, or also called Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction (EIB). Now, let’s find out about this type of asthma so you will know what to do and not to do to avoid the asthma attack.

What Triggers Exercise-Induced Asthma

Generally all asthma patients must be careful when exercising. However, patients with exercise-induced asthma need to be even more careful because in their cases, heavy physical activity can often be a trigger for asthma attack. This is because EIB patients are more sensitive to cold and dry air. Actually, it won’t be a problem in normal activity when you are breathing through your nose. However, when you are doing demanding physical activity, you tend to search for more air, and as a result you will breathe through your mouth.

Unlike the nose, the mouth doesn’t have the necessary parts required to filter the air that will go to the lungs. When the cold air, dust, allergens and pollutions go straight to the lungs without being filtered, that will cause asthma attack.

So, Should Asthma Patients Exercise?

Now, what should you do? After knowing that exercise can trigger your asthma symptoms, does it mean that you cannot enjoy the fun physical activity and can only sit boringly in front of the TV? The answer is of course not. Exercise is very important and despite of the asthma, you need to work out and move your body. You know that inactivity can lead to various fatal diseases that can be way more dangerous than the asthma. Lack of exercise can lead to obesity that leads to high cholesterol and blood sugar level, stroke, heart disease and even cancer. Besides, studies have shown that exercise can actually improve your condition and reduce asthma symptoms.

So, even though you are suffering from asthma, exercise is still important. But, like what have been mentioned above, you need to be careful. As an asthma patient, it is important to choose the right kind of exercise as well as the right amount of exercise. Consult to your doctor first and find out whether you need to take some forms of medication before exercise to prevent asthma attack.

Recommended Exercises

The key to healthy and effective exercise for asthma patients is to choose the right kind of exercise. You need to choose an exercise where you can pace yourself, and the exercise itself doesn’t last too long. Here are some exercises that is safe to do by asthma patients.
1. Swimming
It has been long known that swimming is the best type of exercise for asthma patient. But do you know why? This is because you will breathe warm and moist air that is gathered around the swimming pool when you are swimming. Furthermore, swimming will improve your lung capacity which will affect your respiratory system positively. It can even reduce the symptoms if it is done regularly.
2. Yoga
Yoga is such a beneficial sport and it can even do wonder for your asthma symptoms. The best thing about yoga is it doesn’t require high energy to do. Even the simplest movement can be very effective. This is because yoga movement releases tension in your body which in the end of the day can help reducing asthma symptoms. But please do it under professional guidance to avoid injuries.
3. Walking and Short Distance Running
Walking is easy, it is relaxing, and most importantly you can easily pace yourself and stop when you are tired. Twenty to thirty minutes of walking will not burn too much calorie but it will definitely make you healthier. If you love something more challenging and your condition allows you, you can also try running. But remember, keep the distance short and don’t run too fast. When you feel that you are out of breath, stop. Keep your rhythm so you can keep breathing through your nose.
4. Volleyball
If you are a team player, you can try playing volleyball. Volleyball might look like an exhausting sport, but the truth is it gives you lots of opportunity to pace yourself. Jumping to reach the ball and a little bit running will make your body active but it will not exhaust you so it is an excellent sport for asthma patients.

Exercises to Avoid

1. Soccer 
Soccer is also a team sport and you might be dying to play it if you love playing in teams. Unfortunately, unlike volleyball, soccer is not a good sport for asthma patients. When you are playing soccer, you need to keep running from one corner to the other. You need to always be on your guard and it is hard to find time to rest.
2. Ice Hockey
Hockey is fun and all. Unfortunately, asthma patients can be very sensitive to cold air, and since the ice hockey field can be very cold, it definitely will be a trigger for your asthma.
3. Marathon
Marathon is very healthy, but it is just too demanding for asthma patients. The duration and distance is too long and it will put too much pressure on your respiratory system. Running is fine, but a marathon certainly can cause a problem, especially for beginners.

In conclusion, don’t be afraid to engage in physical activity even if you have exercise-induced asthma. Exercise is still necessary but you have to carefully strategize. Make sure you spend some time to warm up which will beneficial to prepare your lungs for the more demanding activity that you are about to do. Furthermore, if your asthma occurs due to allergic reaction to pollens, make sure you avoid outdoor exercise when the pollen season comes. With some necessary precautions, you definitely can do exercise safely without triggering any asthma symptoms.

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