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The Top 10 tips for exercising with Asthma

People with asthma no longer need to shy away from participating in exercise out of fear of an exercise-induced attack. Once given clearance and guidance from a physician, people with asthma can increase their tolerance for exercise by starting slowly and progressing gradually, and eventually can enjoy exercise as part of a happy and healthy life. All amateur athletes, not just those with asthma, can draw inspiration from world-class athletes like Olympic gold-medallist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who continued to compete at the highest levels after being diagnosed with asthma.

1. Obtain a thorough medical evaluation and doctor’s clearance before beginning any type of exercise program. It is also important that a physician gives you exercise guidelines appropriate for your condition.

2. Be sure to get specific instructions on when to take any medication in relation to exercising, and find out how long the effects will last. Different medications have different side effects that may alter your ability to exercise. Find out what side effects your medication may have and whether it is better to take it before or after exercise.

3. Take extra time to warm up prior to exercising. A prolonged period of low-level activity will help prepare your body for the higher-intensity exercise to follow.

4. Exercise at the lower end of your target heart rate. Exercises such as walking and swimming are great for asthmatics because they are low-intensity and may be continued for longer durations.

5. When performing higher-intensity exercise, including fast-paced sports and running, slowly increase intensity over time. Rest when necessary and listen to what your body is telling you.

6. Strength-training exercises are less likely to cause an asthma attack. Be sure to rest between sets to reduce the cardiovascular intensity of your workout.

7. Avoid exercising in polluted environments or in cold or dry air. Since exercise causes a rapid increase in breathing, extremely dry or cold air that is not comfortable on the lungs may induce an asthma attack.

8. Cool down slowly. An extended cooldown can help prevent the asthma attacks that can immediately follow exercise sessions.

9. Take a warm bath or shower after exercising. An immediate shower or bath may help stave off any post-exercise asthma attacks.

10. Exercise regularly to reduce stress, sleep better and feel more energized. Exercise relieves stress and anxiety, while also alerting the senses and increasing the body’s metabolism. If done correctly, physical activity creates a feeling of well-being and even helps people sleep more soundly.