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Exercising With Asthma

There is no reason why people with controlled asthma should not enjoy active, healthy lifestyles, which should always include exercise.  Individuals who are loyal to their asthma action plans should be able to participate in any type of physical activities they choose, but there are some forms of exercise that are better tolerated  because they put less stress on the lungs.

The same holds true for people with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB),  a condition that causes individuals who do not have asthma to suffer from the symptoms of the disease when exercising. Allergies can also cause similar problems for people during exercise, including coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and shortness of breath.

The asthma action plan, developed with a physician, plays an important role in ensuring people with asthma, allergies, and EIB can fully enjoy their lives.  Such a plan may include prescription medication, monitoring lung function and symptoms, and avoiding triggers. People with asthma or asthma-like conditions should take pre-exercise medications and be sure to include appropriate warm-up and cool-down sessions in their exercise routines.

Gymnastics, volleyball, baseball, wrestling, and other sports characterized by short, intermittent bursts of activity are generally well-tolerated by people with asthma and asthma symptoms. Swimming is a good choice because it is performed in a warm, moist environment and provides a great workout for upper body muscles.
Biking, hiking, walking, aerobics, and running on a treadmill are also good exercise choices.

Asthma sufferers should be aware that cold, dry air can trigger symptoms, making it wise to limit outdoor activities or wear a mask in cold weather.  People with allergies should also exercise indoors when pollen counts are high. Symptoms may also be set off by activities that require long periods of exertion such as basketball, distance running, and soccer.

Individuals who begin to experience symptoms while exercising should stop the activity and use a quick-relief inhaler.  It is okay to continue exercising if the symptoms go away, but if they return again, a health care provider should be contacted.

Staying active is key to good physical and mental health and by taking a few simple precautions, people with asthma and asthma-like conditions should have no problems fully participating in the activities of their choice.
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