Don't let Asthma Stop You From Working Out

Don't let Asthma Stop You From Working Out

Asthma and Exercise

Briefly On Breathing:

A fitness routine is largely dependent on breathing techniques; to say the least, wrong breathing brings hypertension. You may well assume – or, find out, if you are that serious - what else fit in the bill. Irregular/wrong breathing patterns are often big reasons behind outcomes being less than expected. Those not clear on it till the finest details (chiefly starters and amateurs) are asked to get it done. The workout instructor shall love explaining it again.

Things are however; not that easy for those with respiratory system troubles. The learning and its execution leaves a great deal to be desired.

Asthma Agonies:

Asthma stops any advancement towards fitness routines. Asthmatic conditions are more common than one might think. Over three million suffer from some form of asthma, severe, moderate or mild. The challenge comes from the lungs airways tightening up, which may as well occur in amidst a rep or a set; you’re lucky if amid a resting session. The inhaler works, but needs to be applied. A real good attack may not give you the time. Dropping weights is even more frightening and a hell lot more is being breathless due to a lack of oxygen!

Worry Not On Workouts:

  • A wrong choice of exercise programs worsens asthmatic conditions further. Sometimes, they even trigger a condition. There can be myriad causes behind a certain movement triggering an attack but asthma can be fought off with a few, easy steps. 
  • To start, join a gym that checks regularly on air quality. This must also include filtering out different pollutants and pollens. If in your residence, then you need to take adequate measures to clean up the air. Or, wear a mask.
  • Cover your nose and throat when it’s cold. Airways prefer a lukewarm temperature.
  • Adequate water is a must, like in every other disease. It keeps the mucus levels healthy.
  • Check your food list. Certain foods can trigger attacks, including bananas, shrimps, peanuts and celery.
  • Some got their concepts wrong on inhalers, which are for immediate relief. Their fame is due to their quickest actions. They relax the bronchial muscles and reduce inflammation in the airways. They do not eradicate asthma from your system. Taking double doses or increasing intake frequency will not throw asthma out. This worsens the scene. Use only as recommended or as set by a licensed, qualified and practicing physician. However, it is okay to use the inhaler (at the recommended dose) before setting off on a workout. Just check with your doc.

Why At All Workout With Asthma?

The correct exercises help asthma to subside by strengthening the lungs and thus make breathing more efficient. These are not always breathing exercises but movements with or without weights that have their effects on the lungs. These are, as usual, exercises to be performed in short bursts rather than in an intensive and lengthy fashion.

Recommended Exercises:

Swimming: Pumps the heart rate without making the lungs feel the intensity. There’s an awesome lot of swimming programs for asthmatics to choose from. But then again, any kind of aerobics (cycling, dancing) will increase overall heart-lung capacity and improve circulation, as a bonus, you get an improved muscle tone and the stamina free.

Walking: From short, gentle yet firm steps for five minutes on the terrace, three times a day to covering a kilometer within five minutes flat, twice a day. This is something a person can self-devise and don’t need an instructor to chalk out the in-between steps. 4 weeks or 8 weeks, choice is yours. Just be sure where you walk doesn’t have triggers in the air.

Light weight training: Needs a gentle ten minutes warm up before starting the actual exercises. This is essential, as much as not increasing intensity all of a sudden and keeping the inhaler at hand, always.

Yoga, Tai chi etc.: Not because they’re the hottest trends around; asthma is also a lot about the mind controlling the actions of the body. The gentle postures are about setting harmony with breathing techniques, which brings in calmness, a feeling of being washed internally and a rush of energy.

To End With:

Doing all those above is not sending your doctor prescribed medicines on vacation. In fact, the condition may worsen if medications are stopped suddenly. And try avoiding sports like scuba-diving, climbing, hiking or skiing at high altitudes or in cold weather.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad