When asthma makes it feel as though no air is getting to your lungs, it’s quite literally true. Air passages get narrow and mucus starts to overproduce, making it difficult to maintain normal breathing patterns. When you’re exerting yourself, the increased demand for oxygen makes breathing even harder.
Maintaining an active life is recognized as an important way to stay healthy and avoid many other medical conditions. Asthmatics benefit from physical activity, too, though the idea of exercise can be daunting when it’s hard to breathe. There are, however, strategies you can use to help an active lifestyle coexist with asthma. Here’s how.
Activity aids asthma
As well as for your overall health, activity is shown to directly benefit asthma control. What’s more, those asthma patients with the highest levels of activity have the best levels of asthma control. This is on top of the other benefits, such as mood improvement, lower risk of cardiovascular issues, and avoiding diabetes.
It’s enough to tempt you to get off the couch and throw yourself into exercise, but as an asthmatic, you’ll need to take a cautious and conservative approach to a more active lifestyle. Sudden changes to your exercise routine can trigger asthma attacks, so slow and steady is key.
Asthma and exercise
As many as 90% of asthma patients may feel shortness of breath that’s out of proportion with their physical exertion. Called exercise-induced asthma, it’s triggered by heavier mouth breathing causing cooler, drier air to fill your lungs. Breathing through your nose warms and moistens air that’s then less likely to cause breathing issues.
Incorporating activity with asthma
Developing an asthma action plan with Dr. Stephen Wesely of Express Lane Urgent Care is an excellent way to approach a more active lifestyle. There are plenty of strategies to use to avoid asthma attacks while exercising. There’s no reason why you can’t have good asthma control while working out if you already have control when at rest, but it’s important to consult with a physician before taking on additional activity.
Some key points to keep in mind as you get more active include:
- Starting slow: warming up is critical for each session, and ramping up gradually day-to-day is equally important
- Listening to your body: learn to tell the difference between asthma and normal breathlessness, and take breaks when asthma wheezing starts
- Choose activities that you enjoy: if walking bores you consider swimming, yoga, or something else that interests you
- Enlist a partner: an activity companion makes your workout more fun and offers additional safety if an attack strikes
- Use your rescue inhaler before: when you know an attack is likely during an activity, use your rescue inhaler15 minutes before you start
- Avoid environmental triggers: stick to indoor activities when the weather turns colder or the air is full of pollen, or choose environments that avoid the things that typically set off your asthma attacks
Dr. Wesely and the team at Express Lane Urgent Care are asthma specialists, ideal partners for asthma management planning. Call the office today to arrange an exam and consultation to earn the benefits of a more active life.