Lots of people with asthma experience symptoms when they exercise—but that doesn’t mean you should stop being active! Real asthma patients and specialists explain how exercising with asthma is crucial—you just need to be prepared and know your body.
Erika: I'm Erika. I am a mom, a fitness professional, and a movement coach, and I have asthma.
Dr. Greenspan: When people talk about exercised-induced asthma, what they're talking about is somebody who, once they begin to move around or once they begin to exercise, starts to get symptoms due to airway constriction.
Kouryou: I loved running and then I stopped because I thought I couldn't. Don't.
Vanessa: On a daily basis basically having to exercise, it totally affects my asthma.
Natalie: When you stop any exercise, it could cause more harm than good.
Dr. Greenspan: I've put on 25 pounds over last year. If I were to hand you two bowling balls and say, walk around with these all day, every day, well, naturally you're going to be more short of breath. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of pre-medicating before you exercise.
Vanessa: I always make sure to take my asthma medication prior to exercise, but in addition too, I always take my medication in with me when I'm going into class.
Dr. Greenspan: It's very important to gradually increase the intensity of the exercise.
Ben: I don't really have any noticeable breathing problems as a result of running, and I'm medicated. I'm thinking, "Okay, I think I'm probably okay doing this."
Natalie: You need to see what your limitations are.
Dr. Greenspan: Starting off very slow. Starting with breathing exercises, breathing in through your nose, out gently through your mouth through pursed lips.
Kouryou: Warm up. Stretch your heart and lungs, just like any other muscle.
New Speaker: Take your hands behind your back, clasp your hands together, lift your shoulders up and back. Take your elbows back as far as they can go, and lift your chin. The key is to open up the front of the body.
Dr. Greenspan: Only if you feel comfortable should you go to the next stage, and if you feel like your airways are starting to tighten up, make sure you back off to a level at which you feel comfortable again.
Natalie: You can train the body to do anything. It's just with asthma, it might take a little bit longer.
Vanessa: The pros to exercising with asthma are the same pros as if you didn't have asthma. It's great for your cardiovascular system. It builds confidence. It makes people feel empowered.
Ben: It seems like following through with taking care of asthma is step towards continuing having running in my life for a long time.
Medical Reviewers:William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Review Date:01-19-2016