>U Mom Knows Best: Ten Tips For Exercising With Asthma

Friday, May 10, 2019

Ten Tips For Exercising With Asthma

Exercise has been shown to benefit those with asthma. Though exercise may be tough, it will help you breathe better and manage your asthma symptoms.

  

  Many people with asthma may experience difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing, or chest tightness during or after exercise so they may not think it is safe for them to exercise. The truth is exercise may help their asthma and it is safe for them to exercise. Exercise may be a trigger for their asthma to flare up but it may also be beneficial as exercise helps to strengthen the lungs and heart. Exercise is one of those things that almost everyone should be doing several times a week to have a healthy body and a healthy heart. Exercise helps clear the mucus out of your lungs and will help you breathe so much better. Since questioning, if I had exercise-induced asthma two years ago and discovering that my youngest has allergy-induced asthma and exercise-induced asthma, I have learned how to exercise with asthma.



 Starting exercise with asthma may be tough since it may trigger an asthma attack or make you cough up mucus. Those with asthma need to learn how to safely open their airways when exercising. It may take interval training to help you push through the tough breathing that happens at the beginning of your fitness session. After 5 minutes of intervals of fast ~ slow, your lungs will be ready to exercise.

Asthma interval breathing technique for exercise
+ Walk or run until breathing is a struggle
+ Slow down or stop and take deep breathes ~ use your inhaler if needed
+ Walk or run until breathing is hard
+ Slow down or stop and take deep breathes
+ repeat until breathing is no longer hard ~ this process can take 1-5 minutes


 Tips For Exercising With Asthma

1. Talk to your doctor
  I do not practice medicine so the tips I share are from my experience. If you are not exercising currently, it might be helpful to talk to your doctor. This is especially important with asthma symptoms that worsen with exercise. Your doctor can suggest which exercises or medicines may be best.

2. Check the weather
 I find that extreme cold or hot weather and even windy days make it hard for me to run outdoors so those are the days that I head to the gym. When the temperature drops below 40 degrees, the cold air makes it difficult for me to breathe when running and that triggers my asthmatic coughing fit. I can walk but if I want some heart-healthy exercise, I head to the gym. If you don't have a gym membership then there are plenty of ways to sneak in the exercise without going outside.


3. Check the air quality
 One thing that I do before I head outside for exercise is to check the air quality as it is not good for people with asthma to be outside when the air is filled with pollution, pollen, or smog. I live near the mountains and the rule of thumb here is if you can't see the mountains then the air quality is not safe for those with asthma or lung problems. If you don't have mountains near you then check the air quality in your area on the Air Quality Index website. This government website is run by the Environmental Protection Agency and shows the air quality and pollen counts so you can know whether the air is safe to exercise in. My husband works for the environmental health department so he will also email me with air quality updates.

4. Warm-up
I always warm up when I start my exercise as that helps to open up my lungs. I will first walk a couple of blocks before I start running. Then after I run for 30 seconds, I will walk for 30 seconds. I then run for a minute and walk for a minute until I am able to start my exercise. This warm-up varies depending on how my asthma is for the day. If I accidentally ate dairy, which triggers my asthma, my warm-up may take longer.

5. Take breaks
  There are days that I am able to run for 1-2 miles without having to stop to walk and then there are the days that I have to alternate between running and walking due to my asthma flaring up. I have learned that it is ok to take walking breaks while exercising as I am still getting the benefits of exercise through my walking. If you have to slow down or even rest for a bit then do so. The other day when my son and I went for a bike ride, he forgot to take his medication. Halfway through our bike ride, my son told me he was having trouble breathing. So we got off our bikes and walked slowly. While we were walking, I coached my son through his breathing and we were able to resume our bike ride after 15 minutes.



6. Listen to slow music 
   As weird as it sounds listening to slow music helps me to run faster without having any asthma breathing problems. The slow music helps me to be able to better control my breathing and music also keeps my mind off my breathing. Music also helps my asthma when I am not running as it helps when I am feeling stressed. Stress can be a trigger for an asthma flare-up and music can help calm you. That helps with my breathing. I am not able to run unless I have my headphones on. Music is a powerful tool for me and exercise. I get bored quickly when I am running so music helps make my exercise go by quicker. I love wearing wireless headphones as those wires from regular headphones can be annoying. I am also picky about how they fit into my ears. 



7. Drink coffee or another drink with caffeine
   Caffeine helps me in two ways when I exercise. I get some energy from the caffeine and it also helps open my airways to make running easier. I discovered this last summer when I started exercising in the morning. I needed some energy so I drank a natural energy drink that had caffeine in it about 20 minutes before I went running. I noticed that I was able to run with fewer breaks so I did some research and found out that caffeine helps open the airways.  So on the days that I exercise first thing in the morning, I drink something that has about 100 mg of caffeine in it like an energy drink. When I run in the afternoon, I drink my last cup of coffee before I exercise.
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8. Carry an inhaler for rescue if needed
 My son has exercised-induced asthma as well as allergy-induced asthma so he always carries an inhaler for emergencies. My son told me that he was having trouble breathing while doing the mile run in P.E. so I told him to try using his inhaler before gym class. My son now takes a puff from his inhaler on days that he runs in P.E. and that has helped him to be able to exercise. Some people may find the use of an inhaler works better after exercising and others may only need it for emergencies. Check with your doctor to see what they recommend. I like using this pocket-size natural inhaler to open up my airways.


9. Aim to work out for about 30 minutes, 3-5 days a week
 Your body needs exercise to stay healthy and 30 minutes a day 3-5 times a week is what most doctors recommend. It can be hard to fit exercise into your busy day but once you make time for exercise, you will find out that it makes you feel better afterward. It can be tough for moms of small children to find the time to exercise but there are many ways that you can sneak exercise into your day. Check out these Workout Tips For Stay At Home Moms and 13 Simple Ways To Sneak In A Workout.

10. Cool-down after exercise
  It is always important to cool down after you exercise. So do some slow walking or some stretching after your cardio exercise. Also, make sure to drink some water to replenish what you lost in sweat. Check out these Summer Hydration Tips For Runners so you know how to exercise safely in the summer.


11. Try these natural supplements for asthma
  Several natural supplements may give your lungs additional breathing support and help with managing your asthma symptoms naturally without prescription medicines. I have found huge benefits with my asthma relief and take these supplements daily.

+ ClearLungs ~ Helps support free breathing and keeps airways open.
+ Airway Clear ~ Helps strengthen and support healthy airway function.
+ Quercetin ~ Helps with seasonal allergies and can also help to promote normal respiratory function.
+ Portable Nebulizer ~ Helps to open up airways.


So many ways to exercise
 Walking and running are some of the ways that I like to exercise but there are many other activities that you can do to get some healthy exercise. Swimming is a great low-impact form of exercise for those with asthma as it helps strengthen the lungs without any impact on your joints. Yoga is also a great way to exercise and it sure does a great job of strengthening your muscles. I love online yoga classes that I can do in the comfort of my home any time of day. Walking and hiking are other forms of exercise as well as biking. I love combining exercise with errands when I ride my bike to the grocery store.

So stop making excuses about exercise and make today the day that you take care of yourself!

46 comments:

  1. I don't have Asthma. But, I have some breathing problem which makes me avoid exercising. I do have friends who have Asthma. I can share this information to them. This post also motivates me to start exercising slowly.

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  2. I can definitely relate to this! I have exercise induced asthma. Using my inhaler 15-12 minutes before I work out prevents it from flaring up but it's still a main to manage sometimes.

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  3. My sister has asthma. I always thought she should exercise, but I think my mom was afraid of her attacks that it made her not do anything.

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    1. This was my thinking when my daughter first developed asthma but many years later when I started having asthma symptoms I had the internet to do research.

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  4. Great for listening to music with the security of having well-placed earphones! Besides, beautiful design!

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  5. I like the idea of that headset. I do have asthma but not severe enough that I have to worry too much. That headset would be perfect when I exercise.

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  6. I have some friends and family that have asthma. I was always under the impression you shouldn't exercise real hard, when you have asthma; but,this has changed my way of thinking. I'll pass these tips along!

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  7. I love that you said that it is ok to take breaks and walk. That is so true! It is better to take a break and walk then to push yourself too hard. Working out with Asthma is hard!

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  8. Very interesting! My husband was recently diagnosed with asthma, I'll have to share this post with him. Thank you!

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  9. These are great tips for those wanting to walk with asthma. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. These are definitely helpful tips! I should tell about them to my cousin that has asthma. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. These advice helped her a lot! Now she is able to exercise regularly!

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  11. I had exercise induced asthma when I was younger, but I also played a ton of sports. Air quality really was key. I actually struggled the most in the winter when it was really dry.

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  12. Tara, these tips are INVALUABLE! I picked up a few that I've never heard of. Thank you.

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  13. These headphones are super cool. However, all these points to keep safe from asthma is good and super effective.

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  14. Great tips for those suffering from asthma! It is so so so important to exercise!

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  15. Love this post, when I run outside, I always carry my inhaler in case. It definitely helped me! I love working out and not even asthma is stopping me

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    1. That is a great attitude. I love that you exercise but also take precautions

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  16. I will have to show this to my daughter as she has asthma and really needs to find ways to help her with exercise. I know my friend did well when he ran cross country. Helped him a lot with asthma.

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  17. awesome information! my youngest has asthma and we are always having to take breaks, which I am totally fine with!

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  18. I would not want to have to deal with asthma. This is such a great post for those who need help!

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  19. I have a juvenile asthma that I outgrew when I reached the age of 15. However, there are times when it comes back if there are triggering factors such as flu. I really agree with you in exercising because it helps in the expansion of the lungs.

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  20. Great tips, thank you for sharing. I know that this will be helpful to a lot of people for sure.

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  21. One of my friend having asthma and all the tips looks very helpful. Thanks for sharing this article

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  22. Brilliant tips, exercise is just so important for everyone, as long as you take the right medical advice you should be fine.

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  23. I love that you have found a way to keep healthy despite the issues. Sharing with friends who will love to know this.

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  24. These are great tips. My youngest has asthma, so these are going to be helpful for her. I'm glad you shared.

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  25. I must share these things with my dad who recently diagnosed with asthma. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, I really appreciate it.

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  26. Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm glad that there are safe way for someone to still workout even when they have asthma.

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  27. Scarlett BrooklynJuly 9, 2021 at 9:47 PM

    My cousin have an asthma, she can't handle jogging but I think she may try having a daily walk if she would read this, thanks.

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  28. Great tips. My brother has asthma and he has to check the air pollen before he goes out for a run. He loves running at the beach.

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  29. I think exercise can be a great method to manage asthma, although we need to be conscious about allergens from our surrounding like what you've said. Plus, always bring medication when outside.

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  30. exercise is so beneficial for so many things. good to see it helps asthma

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  31. That is definitely something you have to pay attention to. Asthma can really get in the way.

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  32. It's so curious that caffeine can help with asthma issues. Thanks for these advice!

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  33. My sister-in-law has asthma. I'm going to share his article with her. Thanks! -LYNNDEE

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  34. These are great tips! I never knew that caffeine could help with that. Thanks for sharing.

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  35. Lovely tips and something I'll keep in mind with my grandkids that deal with this.

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  36. Definitely would keep working out to indoors with seasonal allergies too.

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  37. This is a really great and very helpful tips! Thanks for sharing these tips with us!

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  38. I wish I had discovered this awesome post when I was badly suffering from asthma 2 years ago😔

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  39. These are tips I can use. My asthma seems to be rearing its ugly head again.

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  40. great tips. i don't have asthma but i am out of shape and kind of a fatty so it'd prolly help anyway xD

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  41. There are a few asthmatic in my family....all great tips. Thank you!

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  42. I always lobe your honesty posts and the sis a good one. I do have to exercise more... I do not do it enough and out is so good for you. Thank you for inspiring me ;)

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Thanks for the comment.

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