Asthma and exercise isn’t one of the best combinations – just ask asthma sufferers! Physical conditioning and a healthy lifestyle do go hand in hand however, and they’re also essential in minimising the asthmatic symptoms of asthma and most other breathing conditions. Serious asthma sufferers don’t have it easy when it comes to exercise, as most sports are inconvenient and high intensity. Swimming is often recommended to asthma sufferers to try and regulate asthmatic symptoms, but not everyone has access to a swimming pool all year round.
However, managed in the right method with a common sense approach to this respiratory condition will allow you to enjoy your chosen sport with added vigor, just ask Paula Radcliffe the former London Marathon champion or Manchester Utd’s very own Paul Scholes, the most capped English footballer when it comes to Champion’s League appearances.
We’ve put together some simple yet straightforward tips on coping with asthma while exercising:
Tip 1 Jogging – Warm up your lungs as well as your body. Before running a race, athletes make sure they stretch and warm up their legs and upper body, even going for a light jog before they knuckle down to start. It’s exactly the same for the lungs – you wouldn’t want to go from stationary to sprinting without getting your lungs used to the airflow. Start out with a soft jog or even a fast walk, and then work your way up to regular pace. If your chest starts to get a bit tight, slow all the way down and find the right ‘gear’ for your body. Remember, even walking is better exercising than channel surfing from the sofa! In fact, walking uphill is an excellent fat burning activity.
Tip 2 Pacing Yourself – Stress, anxiety and frustration can trigger an asthma attack, so make sure you’re completely relaxed when you’re working out. Certainly don’t try to do too much too soon and have regular breaks…you don’t see Andy Murray playing 5 sets without a few banana breaks! Breathing is the most important element when you’re bringing your body’s tempo from resting to a quickened pace. If you’re starting to go down the queezy, light headed route, slow down, take deep breaths and sip some water. It’s clichéd but this really is a question of practice makes perfect – know your limits and push yourself when you’re comfortable. After several sessions over several weeks, you’ll become accustomed to your thresholds. There are numerous gizmos and gadgets on the market that can aid your monitoring of active and resting pulse, calories burnt, wattage output etc, etc, none are essential but they’re great for peace of mind.
Tip 3 Be Prepared – Always make sure you have your inhaler to hand when you’re out jogging or even in the gym in your bag for that matter, whether you have to fit it down your sock, strap it to your arm or leave it under your towel in the corner of the studio.
Tip 4 Research – Read around the subject and know what the experts are saying (we’re personal training experts, not asthma experts from the medical profession) so we’ll conclude this blog post with some excellent resources on the web that provide solid advice for asthma sufferers keen to exercise and live a healthy, sporty lifestyle.