Exercise is important for every one of us. Especially for those who are suffering from certain health conditions, regular exercising is a way to lead a healthy and happy life.
Although experts suggest that doing regular exercise is a way to defend your body from various diseases and disorders, for some people it can bring more harm rather than being good.
Especially when we talk about asthma patients, they are likely to suffer from an increased number of asthma episodes and attacks when they exercise.
Here in this article, we will try to figure out possible reasons for these exercise-induced asthma attacks along with few tips to overcome this issue effectively.
In This Article ...
Exercise-Induced Asthma Symptoms
Too much of exercising can cause shortness of breath in anyone. Even in certain people (with lower stamina), mild exercising can also be a cause of shortness of breath.
Studies reveal that more than 90% of people who suffer from asthma, shows the signs of shortness of breath while exercising. However, this does not mean that exercise is a root cause of asthma in general.
Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) is a newer and more accurate term which is therefore used in place of exercise-induced asthma (EIA- which was misleading and meant that exercise can be a cause of asthma symptoms).
In fact, exercising is just one of the several factors that trigger breathing difficulties in asthmatics.
Signs and symptoms of EIB include:
- Coughing and wheezing
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness or pain in the chest
- Fatigue during exercising
- Poor performance for athletics
- Feeling out of shape condition even when fit
The symptoms can be mild or severe and do not usually occur at the start of exercising. It can start after a few minutes and can be worse after 10-15 minutes of stopping the exercise.
These symptoms usually go away and get resolved in around 30 -60 minutes after the exercise. However, for many, it may remain longer if left untreated.
What Causes Exercise-Induced Asthma?
Exercise-induced asthma causes can be many and the medical researchers are yet in a stage of researching about it.
EIB or exercise-induced asthma is generally a condition in which airways in the lungs get narrowed down due to strenuous exercises.
Airway narrowing usually happens due to the air you breathe from your mouth (instead of nose) to supplement increased oxygen demands of the body during exercise.
The fact is, air when inhaled through nose gets warm and humid which is not at all a trigger factor for asthma.
But when you inhale deeply and faster through your mouth the air gets cold and dry. This causes asthma symptoms to get triggered.
Few other factors which are likely to make your Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction condition worse are:
- High pollen count
- Pollution in air
- Dry cold air
- Irritants like smoke/fumes
- Longer periods of physical activities
How To Diagnose Exercise-Induced Asthma?
Exercise-induced asthma vs out of shape is often confused with one another.
It is therefore important that you get diagnosed properly under the supervision of an expert asthma doctor who knows the difference between EIB and being out of shape condition.
Several tests may be required to be done in order to diagnose the condition properly. Measurement of your breathing is done by your doctor before, during and after the exercises in order to ensure the proper functioning of the lungs.
Based on your condition, your doctor helps in creating a prevention and treatment plan to prevent asthma symptoms while you exercise.
How To Prevent/Overcome Exercise-Induced Asthma?
Although EIB is a common problem for most of the asthmatics, asthma attacks during and after exercises can be well prevented and treated by proper management of your condition.
Taking proper steps to prevent the symptoms naturally is usually recommended for patients. These include:
- Use asthma inhalers or bronchodilators before exercising
- Take your medicines (such as asalbuterol) before exercising
- Avoid exercising when you are sick (like suffering from sinusitis, cold, flu, etc)
- Avoid exercising in cold dry air, use a scarf or a mask to cover your nose and mouth if you exercise
- Warm-up your body for 10-15 minutes before strenuous exercising or physical activities. Do not forget to cool down your body after exercising
Getting the help of best inhaler for exercise induced asthma is one of the sure-shot ways to deal with your problem. You can even carry many of these compact-sized inhalers in your pocket wherever you go.
Besides the above preventive measures, take care that you restrict your exercise on high pollen days. Also, avoid the exercises when the temperature is very low or there is heavy pollution outside.
As these conditions can make your asthma symptoms worse it is best to remain indoors and perform some good indoor exercises like aerobics, dancing, etc.
Remember that, asthma should not be an excuse for you to avoid your daily exercises.
With a bit of care, proper management and plan of action you can treat your condition – to get the benefits of exercising daily without triggering your asthma symptoms.
[Also Read: Asthma and yoga exercise]
How To Exercise With Exercise Induced Asthma?
Many people who are suffering from asthma or similar respiratory troubles have a question in mind. Some of these are:
- Does exercise help asthma?
- Should you exercise when you have asthma?
- What type of exercises can you perform when you suffer from asthma?
Well, studies reveal that even when you are suffering from asthma, the benefits of exercising can be many. In fact, you can easily help improve your EIB or asthma conditions with regular exercises.
Exercises or activities which involves short and less exertion on your body are best to perform. These can be sports activities like volleyball, baseball, gymnastics and even walking.
Sports activities that involve a longer period of exertion (such as football, soccer, hockey, basketball, long-distance running, etc) should be completely avoided.
Care that you should also avoid sporting activities like skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, etc. as it can easily trigger your asthma conditions due to cold dry air.
[Also Read: Is Swimming Good For Asthma?]
Maintaining an active lifestyle is key to great physical and mental health. Also, it helps to avoid all types of health conditions.
It is therefore important that you concentrate on your exercising and sporting activities so that you can easily beat your exercise-induced asthma conditions naturally.
Do not let asthma come in between your athletic dreams!