Asthma : 3 Best Exercises To Manage It

Asthma and exercise can often be confusing because of the mixed messages we get, especially if we are trying to exercise while having asthma. Some people even say you shouldn’t exercise if you have asthma, and others say you will get worse if you don’t. For many patients, an asthma attack can be a life-threatening ordeal. So in this article, we will discuss some facts about this condition and what are the best exercises to manage it.

WHAT IS ASTHMA?

asthma
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Asthma is a long-term (chronic) condition that causes the air passages of the lungs to bulge and narrow, leading to coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Many things, including exercise, can trigger it. This can also be triggered by cold air or vapor from cleaning products, high temperature and humidity, prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke, dust mites, mold spores, and pollens from plants like ragweed or trees like cedar.

TYPES OF ASTHMA

As mentioned, asthma is a chronic respiratory disorder that causes inflammation and narrowing of your airways. Asthma can affect all parts of the respiratory system, from the small airways in your lungs to the large airways leading to your throat. There are various types of asthma, and it’s essential to know them so you’ll learn how to manage them in case of one.

🫁 Exercise-Induced Asthma

Exercise-induced asthma is the most common form of asthma. It’s an asthma attack that occurs while exercising or participating in any physical activity, like running or swimming.

Exercise-induced asthma often starts suddenly after you exercise or participate in physical activity and improves within 20 minutes of stopping. In some people, it may take 1 to 2 hours for their breathing to return to normal after they stop moving. A person with exercise-induced asthma may also experience wheezing during exercise, but not at other times of the day.

🫁 Occupational Asthma

Occupational asthma is a condition that occurs when someone who is exposed to an allergen at work develops asthma symptoms. This type of asthma differs from other types because it usually happens after long-term exposure to the allergen, not as a result of an acute exposure or a single event. In fact, in most cases, occupational asthma can be caused by several different substances and allergens.

Allergens that can cause occupational asthma include:

  • Specks of dust made up of organic materials such as wood or cotton fibers
  • Metals such as iron and chromium
  • Animal proteins like wool or fur dust
  • Bacteria and viruses that humans come into contact with in the workplace

🫁 Allergic Asthma

Allergic asthma is also one of the most common types of asthma. It’s caused by allergies to substances like dust mites, pollen, and pet dander. Allergic reactions produce inflammation in your airways and may cause your bronchial tubes to swell up and make it harder to breathe.

Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath (dyspnea), chest tightness that makes it hard to take a deep breath (breathlessness), and trouble waking up during the night because you have difficulty breathing (paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea).

If you have allergic asthma symptoms more than twice a week or if they interfere with your day-to-day conditioning for at least three months out of 12 months, you may have allergic asthma even if you don’t show signs of other types of allergic reactions like hives or watery eyes when exposed to triggers like pollen or dust mites.

>>Treatment 

This involves avoiding triggers as much as possible through lifestyle changes such as keeping pets outside or regularly cleaning so that allergens are removed from surfaces where they live, such as carpets and upholstery. It’s also a way of reducing the occurrence by reducing indoor humidity levels with dehumidifiers, making sure windows open daily so fresh air can circulate inside, keeping bedrooms uncluttered so dust mites don’t build up there, washing bed sheets weekly instead of every two weeks, and limiting time spent in traffic jams where exhaust fumes can build up inside cars without proper ventilation systems.

🫁 Seasonal Asthma

If you have asthma and live in the U.S., spring is a particular time for you. There’s pollen-induced sneezing, sniffling, coughing, and wheezing to look forward to. But suppose you’re one of the millions of Americans who have seasonal asthma, which is triggered by allergens. In that case, winter can also be a particular time because there’s not as much pollen flying around during this season.

Seasonal asthma affects almost 9 million people in the U.S., according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s especially common in people with allergies. Severe symptoms tend to appear between April and June or September through November. However, they can vary depending on what triggers your particular allergic reaction.

>>Symptoms

With seasonal asthma, you’ll likely experience some or all of these symptoms: difficult breathing, wheezing or coughing after exercising outdoors or indoors on warm days (elevated humidity). You may also experience nasal congestion, increased mucus production that can lead to postnasal drip, and facial swelling around the eyes or lips. There will also be redness inside the nose due to inflammation caused by inhaling allergens, itchy eyes, nose, throat (commonly associated with hay fever), and feeling lightheaded upon exposure outside.

🫁 Cough-Variant Asthma

Cough-variant asthma is a type of asthma that isn’t associated with wheezing but instead involves chronic coughing. The same factors can cause this as other types of asthma, such as allergic rhinitis or sinusitis, and environmental triggers like cigarette smoke or perfume. Cough-variant asthma is more common in children than adults, but it can occur at any age.

Symptoms of cough-variant asthma include:

  • Chronic dry cough (coughing several times per day)
  • Chest tightness (feeling like your chest is more constricted than average)
  • Shortness of breath

🫁 Nocturnal (Nighttime) Asthma

As its name suggests, nocturnal asthma is a type of asthma that occurs during your sleep. It can force you to wake up at any hour of the night or early morning, feeling short of breath and coughing. You might have dry, itchy eyes and sinuses from allergies or postnasal drip.

The cause of nocturnal asthma is usually allergies, but sometimes it’s caused by an upper respiratory infection or sinusitis. The symptoms are less severe than during the day because there’s less mucus production. For mild cases, treatment with antihistamines or decongestants may help relieve symptoms.

More severe cases often need stronger medications like inhaled or oral steroids taken at night before bedtime to keep their airways open. At the same time, they sleep through thick mucus buildup in them throughout the night. 

TREATMENT FOR ASTHMA

Asthma is a lung disease. It causes wheezing and shortness of breath, which can be triggered by dust, pollen, or pet hair. This makes it more difficult for air to get into your lungs and oxygen to reach your bloodstream. Though it was believed that asthma doesn’t have a cure, there are still ways to manage and prevent its occurrence.

🫁 Medication

Medication is the primary treatment and control for asthma. Your doctor will prescribe a medication based on your symptoms and how severe your condition is. Medications are used to control asthma, prevent attacks, help you breathe, help you sleep, and more.

There are two types of drugs for asthma: short-acting and long-acting medications. Short-acting bronchodilators are usually taken 15 minutes before exercise or exposure to allergens to relieve symptoms for 6 and up to 8 hours at a time. At the same time, long-acting medications can last up to 24 hours and reduce the number of times you need to use short-acting daily.

>>Inhalers and oral meds

If a patient has asthma and has not had their condition under control, the doctor will prescribe medication to control the disease. The medicines prescribed are different for each person and include inhalers and oral medications. Inhalers contain a fast-acting drug that opens up the airways to allow for better breathing. Oral medications work for long-term control of asthma symptoms. Both types of medication are needed for effective treatment.

Though medications are essential in controlling asthma, they do not cure it or eliminate your symptoms entirely, so it is very important that you take your medicine every day as prescribed by your doctor.

🫁 Lifestyle changes

It’s also important to note that while medication can be effective at managing asthma symptoms, it’s not the only contributing factor in reducing an attack. You’ll want to make sure that any lifestyle modifications are made as well! 

This includes exercising regularly (3 times per week), eating healthy meals at least five times per day (and avoiding triggers like smoking), getting enough sleep every night (8 hours minimum), and managing stress levels through relaxation and deep-breathing techniques such as meditation music for anxiety relief & calmness which can really help reduce stress levels quickly!

🫁 Medical checkups

Medical checkups are an essential part of managing asthma. They help you and your doctor to monitor the condition, identify triggers, and check for possible complications or side effects from medication. The type of medical checks required will depend on:

  • Patient’s age
  • The symptoms and how severe they are
  • Your risk factors for more serious asthma problems (such as having chronic lung disease)

🫁 Anaphylaxis (severe allergy-induced asthma)

Anaphylaxis is an effect of a threatening trigger or severe allergic reaction that can be affect your breathing. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include difficulty breathing, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Epinephrine is used to treat anaphylaxis because it can reverse the effects of histamine in the body. This can help relieve symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath.

Suppose you have asthma or are prone to allergies. In that case, it’s essential that you know how to treat yourself if you experience an allergic reaction or develop symptoms of a severe allergy (anaphylaxis). You should always carry your medication with you so that it’s available if needed during an emergency or if your condition worsens unexpectedly.

🫁 Allergy immunotherapy (desensitization)

Allergy immunotherapy is a treatment for allergies that have been shown to be effective in treating asthma. It works by exposing the patient to small amounts of allergens over time, reducing their sensitivity as they build up immunity.

The process involves regular injections, with gradually increasing amounts of the allergen being given each time until the person becomes desensitized and no longer suffers from symptoms when exposed to them. The duration varies depending on what type of allergy you have, but it can take anything from a few months to a number of years, depending on how severe it is. So, you’ll need plenty of patience!

MANAGEMENT: EXERCISE PREPARATION

Exercise is a significant way to improve our overall health, but if you have asthma, there are some substantial reminders that you need to keep in mind before starting a new workout routine. Exercise does not cause asthma in people who don’t already have it, but it can make asthma symptoms worse for people with the condition.

If you feel your asthma is getting worse with exercise, speak with your doctor about taking medication before exercising and ensuring that the place where you’re working out is free from dust or smoke. Also, remember that warm-ups and cool-downs help prepare your body for exercise and reduce recovery time between workouts, both of which are crucial when dealing with an illness like asthma!

exercise for asthma

Here are the things you need to consider before exercising.

🫁 Know your asthma

Exercise can be hard to do if you have asthma. You should talk with your doctor about what kind of exercise is best for you and how much is OK for your recovery from an attack. Some people with asthma can participate in competitive sports like basketball or football without using special equipment that helps them breathe better during exercise (like a ventilator). Others are only able to participate in low-impact sports such as swimming or cycling, which don’t use as much energy or force on the body as running does.

🫁 Chances of developing an asthma

It appears like a lot of people think that exercise causes asthma, but that’s not true. You can’t develop asthma from exercising. You can’t get asthma from exercise either unless you already had it in the first place. Keeping it short, if you don’t have asthma and start working out regularly, then your chances of developing it are minimal indeed!

🫁 Take your medication before exercising

It is essential to discuss your medication with your doctor before taking any of them. You should take your medication as prescribed and never change the dosage or frequency without first talking to a medical professional.

Suppose you are taking medication, such as an antiasthma, for instance. In that case, it is vital that you know how long it takes for this medicine to be effective in your body and if there are any contraindications associated with exercise, such as not being able to partake in certain kinds of strenuous activities.

In most cases, doctors will recommend that their patients take their medication at least 15 minutes before exercising. However, some may advise against exercising at all if they feel this could cause further harm. Some medicines need water intake during exercise, while others do better without water since they increase the flow of the oxygenated blood to the head, which can cause dizziness when paired with physical exertion.

🫁 Warm-up and cool down

Warming up prior to exercise can help prevent injury and extend your workout. Here’s how to do it.

  • Start with a 5 to 10 minutes mild activity, such as walking or jogging.
  • Do some dynamic stretches before you start your main workout. These are movements that mimic the movements in your sport or activity, such as lunging forward and then back in preparation for a tennis match.

Cooling down after exercise allows blood vessels to dilate and helps prevent swelling after intense workouts. It also helps return oxygen levels back to normal levels so that you’re ready for anything else you have planned during the day!

  • Stretch after completing a strenuous workout routine or sports practice session by stretching all major muscle groups involved in the activity until they feel relaxed again. This should take at least 10 minutes total!

🫁 Start slowly

The most important thing you can do is start at a level that feels comfortable, so you don’t get discouraged and give up. Here are some ideas for how to ease into exercise:

  • Start with five minutes of exercise per day. This may seem like nothing, but it’s more than many people do! If you’re already active, try adding a few minutes each week to your routine until you reach 15 or 20 minutes daily.
  • From there, the goal is 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week, preferably spread out over two or three sessions rather than two hours straight one day. This is for long-term health benefits, including keeping weight off and slowing down your heart and brain aging processes. If time allows for a slightly longer workout, that’s even better!

🫁 Work out in a place that doesn’t have triggers

Exercise is a great way to burn off stress and stay healthy, but it’s essential to have a safe place to work out. You want your exercise area to be somewhere that has clean air, where you feel comfortable and safe. A good location will also make you feel confident in your ability to exercise correctly.

If there are people smoking near the parking lot or if the air smells like smoke when you walk into the gym, then those are signs that your chosen facility might not be ideal for exercising. If there are chemicals in the air from cleaners or other products used on equipment or floors at that gym, then it might not be a good choice either (unless those chemicals don’t bother you). And if people at that gym aren’t very friendly towards each other, or even downright rude, then maybe try another location instead!

🫁 Check your body

If you feel as though your asthma is getting worse, speak with your doctor. If you need to stop exercising because of asthma symptoms, take a deep breath and be patient. It may be several days before the inflammation goes down enough for you to exercise again without feeling ill.

TYPES OF EXERCISE FOR ASTHMA

As mentioned, the best way to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to exercise regularly. For many people, however, this can be difficult in the face of asthma symptoms. The good word is that there are several kinds of exercise for asthma, and they can actually improve your overall lung function!

exercise for asthma

🫁 Goals and benefits

There are different types of exercise for asthma. The best kind of exercise for you depends on your age and the severity of your asthma. It would help if you spoke to your doctor before starting any new physical activity. They can help you determine what kind of exercise is right for you. The goal is to find a physical activity that allows you to feel comfortable and have fun while exercising without causing an increase in symptoms or an asthma attack!

In general, people with mild-to-moderate chronic asthma benefit from aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, or swimming because it strengthens their heart muscles while reducing stress levels by increasing blood flow through their bodies. This improves lung function over time by strengthening muscles around the thorax (chest cavity). 

It also helps control weight gain, which reduces breathing difficulties related to weight gain and increases pressure on the rib cage during inhalation causing shortness of breath. Additionally, it may decrease inflammation within the airways, which helps reduce coughing associated with asthma.

🫁 Exercise Program

Prior to starting an exercise program, there are a few things to consider.

You should have a doctor’s approval before starting any exercise program. This is to know your goal in starting the exercise program and what type of exercise will work best for you. The environment where you will be exercising needs careful consideration because if it is too cold or too hot, this can affect how well your body functions during an exercise session.

Your health insurance provider might cover some types of physical therapy. Still, not others, so make sure that whatever form of physical activity that interests you fall under your coverage plan before signing up for classes or purchasing equipment from a store or online vendor.

🫁 Recumbent Bike

Recumbent bikes are a favorite among people with asthma, and for a good reason. This type of bike is low impact and comfortable, making it easy on the joints. It’s also great for beginners who may have knee or back problems or just want something easy to start with. 

Recumbent bikes are ideal for people who want to lose weight because they’re easier to get on than a regular stationary bike, and you can use them as an elliptical machine as well. You can pedal at different intensity levels while standing up or sitting down! And don’t forget that recumbent bikes are great for getting in shape too!

🫁 Elliptical (Lateral)

Elliptical trainers are a significant way to get a cardio workout. They are low impact, so they’re safe for people with asthma. Elliptical trainers are easy to use and can be found in many gyms, health clubs, and home exercise equipment stores. Their low cost assembles them an appealing option for those with limited budgets.

🫁 Stair Stepper and Interval Training

Stair stepper and interval training can be effective for people living with asthma. If you are on a stair stepper, do one minute of high-intensity exercise followed by two minutes at a more manageable pace. You can also try sprinting in place or doing jumping jacks as part of your exercise routine.

Keep in mind not to overdo it. If you have asthma that is not totally controlled, talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine. It’s possible that some types of activity may trigger an attack or make symptoms worse if done too much or too soon after taking medication.

BOTTOM LINE

People with asthma should find a physical activity that they enjoy and are able to be active in for at least thirty minutes several times per week. And while it may seem like a difficult or even impossible task, some people with asthma have found success running or swimming on their own terms. But the safest thing to do is to always have a talk with your doctor before trying new activities. This is to ensure that every action you make is something that can improve your health and not worsen it.

One thing to minimize the occurrence of asthma is to strengthen the immune system. To know how to improve your immunity, click HERE.

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