Swimming with Asthma: Know The Benefits and Risks Involved

Swimming, no wonder, is one of the best exercises for all. No matter whether you are a kid or an adult, it can prove beneficial for enhancing your overall well-being.

But, an important question that comes to mind is – is swimming good for asthma?

In the below article, we will try to discuss the same along with its advantages and risk factors for asthmatics…

When talking about people with asthma, experts suggest that they should involve themselves in regular mild exercises such as – swimming.

This not only helps sufferers by controlling their frequent asthma attacks (by improving heart and lung functionality) but also by making them active and fit.

Primarily when your asthma gets triggered heavily due to cold temperatures and allergies, water-based aerobic exercises such as swimming can act as a boon to keep you physically fit.

Benefits of Swimming with Asthma

It has been seen that children with asthma generally lack energy as they often complain about their chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing when they try to play outdoors (or want to perform some strenuous activity).

However, for a concerned parent, it is undoubtedly a risk that can make their kids inactive in the long run.

Playing and having fun is the right of every child, and exercises such as swimming can make a difference in their life significantly.

Although exercising, running, or playing for long can lead to more severe conditions (such as exercise-induced asthma), swimming in an indoor pool can be a great physical activity for asthmatic children.

As it is safe and highly beneficial, experts recommend this exercise for kids suffering from asthma which can help keep them active and healthy.

As an additional benefit, swimming can also help alleviate the dryness in the airways.

According to livestrong.com, unlike cold, dry air, warm moist air (provided by swimming) does not irritate the lungs of the asthma sufferer. And thus proves to be a most helpful exercise for them.

Swimming is also considered one of the best exercises for asthma children due to its ability to help control breathing.

By holding their breath, while swimming, children can easily expand their lung capacity and hence can control asthma attacks.

Parents, by promoting and motivating their kids to swim, can keep their child with asthma up and active.

What Are The Risk Factors?

Although swimming for asthmatics can be considered one of the best exercises for asthma sufferers, it also imposes certain risk factors.

Chlorine and Asthma

In a rесеnt study, it was found thаt children who use indoor swimming pools hаvе аn increased risk оf asthma attacks.

Тhе researchers bеlіеvе that thіs increased risk соuld bе caused bу chlorine build-up іn indoor swimming pools (which is used to sanitize pool water regularly).

The study shоwеd thаt exposure tо chloramines greatly increases permeability оf thе lung epithelium. The truth is, chlorine bу іtsеlf isn’t thе problem; it’s whаt hарреns whеn chlorine іs combined wіth organics.

Тhе organics аrе produced bу pool users іn thе form оf sweat, dander, urine, еtс.

Тhе chlorine reacts wіth thеsе organics regularly, which further produces dangerous chemicals suсh аs nitrogen trichloride, aldehydes, chloroform аnd chloramines.

This rеsеаrсh mау help explain whу swimmers іn indoor pools аrе mоrе prone tо asthma attacks thаn as compared to athletes where Olympic swimmers with asthma swim only in freshwater.

Cold Water Induced Asthma

Besides chlorine, cold water can be a great risk for swimmers who suffer from asthma. Swimming with asthma cough in cold water can make their asthma worse and should be therefore avoided.

Experts suggest that asthma sufferers who love swimming can continue the activity by using a wetsuit before they enter the cold water pool.

If possible, try to swim only in the pools which have water with an average temperature of 25°C-30°C.

Also, do not forget to take your inhalers before immersing yourself in the water. All these will help to avoid swimming exercise-induced asthma getting triggered.

Care that swimming in itself is not a suggested cure for asthma. It can only help in making you feel better and living an easy life with asthma.

If you have not ever tried swimming before, consult with your doctor before planning to start.

Tips for Swimming with Asthma (Dos and Donts)

Although swimming with asthma and allergies can be difficult for athletes, following specific tips and guidelines can make it easier for you to swim across.

The things you need to focus on are:


  • Take a shower properly before entering the pool
  • Always keep your inhaler device along with you at poolside
  • Use your reliever inhaler about 10 minutes (or as prescribed) before you start to swim
  • Consider warming up and cooling down your body correctly to reduce the chances of exercise-induced asthma


  • Take your swimming session when you have lousy asthma symptoms or the weather is too cold.