How to Stay Active with Asthma

Love to workout but hate how your asthma limits your exercise plans? Moving around and being active is a popular trigger for the 26 million Americans who have asthma.

So, what are you to do when being active makes it hard to breathe? You can’t stay healthy by sitting on the couch and doing finger exercises by pressing the remote (believe us, we’ve tried to make that work). It’ll be a challenge, and you have to be properly medicated, but with the right precautions and planning, people with asthma can be just as active as those without it. Here’s how:

Always keep an inhaler nearby. This should already be a habit of yours, but is worth repeating. Always keep your inhaler nearby! You’ll need it if your workout triggers an attack.

Start by taking 3 brisk walks a week. Brisk walking is fast and intense enough to get your heart rate up, but not intense enough to be a full-on run, aka entering trigger territory. This study even suggests that doing this type of walking will help strengthen your lungs and decrease the amount of asthma attacks you’ll have in the future. Win-win!

Try yoga. This activity is more about strength training and breathing exercises rather than cardio, which is perfect for those with asthma.

Photo by clement127

Throw on a helmet and jump on your bike for a casual bike ride around your town or park. As long as you don’t start peddling like you’re in Le Tour de France, your asthma shouldn’t be triggered and you can still get a good workout.

Golfing and tennis are two more great sports to try if you have asthma. Golfing is good for the mind and the legs with all the walking between hole 1 and 18. Tennis is good if you want to work up more of a sweat — just play it safe and take breaks if you start to lose your breath!

Swimming is excellent for burning a ton of calories and toning your body without overdoing your lungs. Some gyms have pools, so throw on the swim suite and try this out. If you aren’t sure where to start, try a beginners class.

Just like working out strengthens your body it also strengthens your lungs. We suggest, after a few months of exercising on a regular basis, that you can slowly start trying harder, more intense workouts. The more intense of a workout, the more likely you will have an asthma attack, so we suggest starting out by doing new exercises with other people in case a serious attack happens and you need help.

As long as you keep an inhaler nearby and start slow, you can be active with asthma like any other person can. Stay breathe happy and stay healthy!