3 Ways to Stay Active with Exercise-Induced Asthma

3 Ways to Stay Active with Exercise Induced Asthma - Large

If you have asthma, when you exercise you may also experience exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB), formerly called exercise-induced asthma. Without treatment, this condition can make it more difficult to breathe during physical activity. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, up to 90 percent of people who have asthma also experience symptoms of EIB when they exercise.

Common Symptoms of EIB

You might have EIB if you notice these symptoms a few minutes into your workout or for up to 15 minutes after you finish:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness of chest
  • Shortness of breath

If you have these symptoms, talk to a doctor about getting tested for EIB. Your doctor can look into your medical history and measure your breathing before and after physical activity to determine if you have EIB.

Your Strategy for Staying Active with EIB

  1. Get a treatment plan. For most people who have EIB, the right medication can make it possible for you to do the activities you want to do. “We don’t want people to stop exercising if they have asthma, because exercise is so important and can improve your lung function. We just want to make sure that you’re treated when you do it,” says Anessa Alappatt, MD, Fairborn Medical Center.

    View this video from Dr. Alappatt on how medication can help you do the things you love.

    Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

    Is It Safe To Exercise With Asthma?

    If you have asthma, you should be able to do everything that you want to do if you are treated appropriately, so that certainly includes exercise and normal activities that you would like to do. Now, some people will have increased asthmatic symptoms, or only asthmatic symptoms with exercise, but if you see your doctor and are treated, then that should eliminate those symptoms. So we don't want people to stop exercising if they have asthma, because exercise is so important and can improve your lung function, but we just want to make sure that you're treated when you do it.

     
  2. Keep a good routine. Be kind to your body! Instead of going straight into that sprint, make sure to warm up for a full 15 minutes first. This gives your heart, lungs and muscles more time to prepare for a fast-paced workout, and it might reduce your chance of having symptoms.
  3. Be mindful of the triggers. When you exercise hard, you automatically take deeper and faster breaths. Quick deep breaths, combined with dry, cold air can sometimes trigger symptoms. So, as much as possible, try to breathe through your nose (not your mouth), and use a scarf to cover your mouth when you exercise in cold or dry air.
“We don’t want people to stop exercising if they have asthma, because exercise is so important and can improve your lung function."

Best Activities with EIB

Here’s the good news: with the right treatment plan and management techniques, most people with EIB are able to do the activities they love. That’s important, because maintaining a strong, healthy body is critical for your overall health — and that includes your lungs, too!

Here are some sports that are especially do-able for those with EIB because they require short bursts of intense activity:3 Ways to Stay Active with Exercise Induced Asthma - In Content

  • Volleyball
  • Gymnastics
  • Baseball
  • Wrestling
  • Golf
  • Swimming
  • Football

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Try taking walks, hiking, going for a bike ride, or do something else entirely. The choice is up to you!

Small Steps: Stop and Rest
Take a break in the shade if you’re feeling overly fatigued from the sun.