It can be scary exercising when you have Asthma, especially if you think you can’t possibly do it safely or the correct way. There are many things you can do to minimize the chances of an Asthma attack while taking small steps to get yourself into better condition physically.
First of all, understand that Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Attacks can be worsened by lots of things including dust, smoke, allergen exposure or physical exertion.
Contrary to what many believe, with the proper education and precautions, exercise can be a regular and enjoyable part of your life. One critical piece of advice is to always, always keep a rescue medication inhaler close by. If you are playing a sport like soccer, basketball or football, make sure your coach has an inhaler in the medical tackle kit for easy access, and keep one with a parent or guardian who is also where you are as a backup measure. Just in case.
If you have spent the night coughing or wheezing, or if you have a cold and your chest feels constricted, think twice before participating in any extra rigorous activities. Many of those who have Asthma already know their personal “triggers” such as what happens if the weather suddenly changes from warm to cold, from warm to super hot or muggy, and what happens to their bodies when it is cold and rainy. A better decision might be to engage in only light to no exercise at all until you feel better.
This type of triggering is called exercise induced Asthma and symptoms can show up quickly, within a few minutes of exercise, especially if the weather is colder or the air dryer.
Biking, swimming, walking, and team based sports often work out well for those who are mostly triggered by continuous, more strenuous forms of exercise. Of course, always check with a health care professional before engaging in exercise and to get guidelines which will work best for you.
Even though you may have this physiological condition, with medical treatment, guidance and smart prevention strategies, there is no reason you cannot get out there and get involved in some form of recreational activity.