Exercising Safely With Asthma

It's January, which means everyone is holding on to those resolutions as long as possible. But what if you have asthma? Can you still exercise? Is it dangerous to work out?

Short answer: Asthmatics can certainly exercise. However, the key, along with ensuring your asthma meds are in order, is to select your activity and approach with your condition in mind.

Historically, it has been taught that the best possible sport or exercise for asthmatics is swimming. In addition to being an excellent cardiovascular workout in general, the air being moved in and out of your lungs is usually warm and moist, which makes for ideal breathing conditions when suffering from asthma. Aside from avoiding pools containing too much chlorine, which may trigger a flare, swimming is at the top of the list of ways to get - and stay - fit.

Yoga is also an excellent activity if asthma is part of your life. While it shouldn't be considered a direct treatment, yoga's focus on breath control seems to be a real benefit to asthmatics, not to mention improving mental and physical well-being. Tai Chi, an exercise also known for its focus on controlled breathing and body movements, is likewise a popular choice among asthma sufferers.

None of this is to say that all other sports or athletics are off the list. Baseball, golf, and tennis are activities that have the preferred “rhythm” of short bursts of action interspersed with periods of rest and recovery that are more favorable for asthmatics.

Some activities that may cause an asthma flare are long distance running, skiing, basketball, and soccer. Their longer stretches of high exertion may trigger an asthmatic episode. That doesn't mean asthma sufferers must avoid these sports, only that you must carefully monitor yourself before and after.

For questions about asthma, or other exercise tips, visit your nearest AppleCare Immediate Care Center.