How to Exercise Safely When You Have Asthma
As a blogger with asthma, I have made a lot of connections with other people in the blogging world who also suffer from this health condition. Not only do all of us take steps to keep our asthma under control but we also regularly exercise.
At first, it may seem like it would be impossible to exercise with asthma. However, with so many of us asthma bloggers getting regular exercise, it is easy to see that exercise is not only possible – it is essential. Here are some tips for exercising safely when you have asthma:
- Do everything in your power to get your asthma under control. See your doctor for an asthma assessment and come up with a plan for controlling your asthma. There are plenty of steps that you can take to minimize the number and severity of asthma attacks that you experience.
- Use your inhaler before exercising. As long as your doctor approves, taking a couple of puffs from your Albuterol inhaler prior to exercising can help prepare your lungs for your workout. Again, however, only take this step if you have approval from your doctor.
- Always have your inhaler on hand. Anytime you exercise, make sure that your inhaler is close by. That way, if you do experience an asthma attack, you can act quickly to get the relief that you need. Try keeping it in your pocket when you work out so that it is always close at hand. Make it a habit to put it in your pocket before you start exercising every single time so that you always have it if you need it.
- Start off with a good warm-up. Don’t jump right into exercising. Instead, give your body a chance to gradually warm up by stretching and doing some mild exercises before you begin.
- Take things slowly at first. In terms of the intensity of your workout, it is best to start off slow and easy, gradually increasing the intensity the longer that you work out. This can help your lungs and your heart get up to speed more easily without having to work quite as hard.
- Go at an appropriate pace. Avoid pushing yourself too hard. Instead, always exercise within your personal limits. Over time, you will gradually build strength and endurance. Until you do, however, it is important to avoid pushing yourself to the point that you trigger an asthma attack.
- Make sure to get plenty of cardiovascular exercises. The standard recommendations are to exercise 3 to 5 times a week, for 20 minutes at a time. You should try to keep your heart rate in the target zone during the entire 20 minutes. There are plenty of fun activities that you can do that count as exercise including swimming, playing basketball, and going for a jog.
- Stick to a regular schedule. When you are first starting out, try to exercise at least three days a week. As time goes by, you will gradually begin to build endurance, strengthening your heart and lungs along the way.
- Work out in a warm room. If the air is too cold, it may not have enough moisture to prevent an asthma attack. Warmer temperatures, on the other hand, usually mean that there is more moisture in the air. As a result, you are less likely to trigger an attack if you work out when the temperature is above 50°.
- Don’t give in to excuses. When you are first starting out, exercising may feel like a chore. Avoid the temptation to skip it. Instead, force yourself to follow through for at least a few weeks. At the end of that time, you may find that you start to look forward to your workouts as you notice how much stronger and healthier they make you feel.
- Pay attention to the changes that are happening in your body. Chances are, your lungs will be a lot stronger, making it easier to climb stairs or to walk to the store from your car. Similarly, if you get a cold, your breathing is a lot less likely to be affected when your lungs are healthy and strong.
- Pay attention to how you are feeling. If your chest starts to feel tight or if it feels like an attack is coming on, stop whatever it is that you are doing and allow yourself to recover.
- Take time off if you need it. If your body is sending you signals that it isn’t up for a workout, be sure to pay attention to it. If you feel sick or if you just don’t feel up to exercising, don’t feel too bad about taking time off. Just be sure to get back into your routine as quickly as possible so that you don’t lose all of the gains that you have made.
- Try it for two weeks. Committing to a lifelong exercise program can seem overwhelming. Instead, try committing to doing it for just two weeks. By the end of that time, you most likely will be feeling so much better than you will want to continue with your workouts for the rest of your life.