Exercising is vital for everyone, but having asthma can make it more challenging to get a workout in. Exercise-induced asthma, or bronchoconstriction, is a common condition that happens when the airways narrow during exercise. About 90% of people who have asthma suffer from symptoms during exercise.
Symptoms of exercise-induced asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in chest
Despite its name, exercise is not the only cause of exercise-induced asthma. There are many environmental triggers, some of which can be found in gyms, pools, or other areas frequently used for exercise.
Environmental triggers can include:
- Air pollution
- Dry or cold air
- Fumes from perfume or paint
- Mold or dust mites
Patients with exercise-induced asthma can also have difficulty with heavy cardio activities, including running and swimming.
The good news is that many people with exercise-induced asthma can still exercise with proper preparation and treatment. Here are some tips that will help you manage your asthma and make exercise easier.
Three Tips to Exercising with Exercise-Induced Asthma
1. Take Medication and Use your Inhaler
Some medications can be taken before exercise to reduce symptoms of exercise-induced asthma, including:
Short-acting beta-agonist (SABAs)
These medications relax and widen the airways. This quick-relief medicine can be used 15 to 20 minutes before physical activity, usually in the form of an inhaler. Albuterol and levalbuterol are common SABA drugs.
Inhaled Corticosteroids (ICS)
These drugs help calm inflammation in the airways. It should be used for four weeks before its benefits become noticeable.
Leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRAs)
These medicines reduce inflammation and can be taken by mouth daily or up to two hours before exercise.
If you have asthma and are interested in medication, talk to your doctor about what might be best for you.
2. Exercise Indoors and Take Deep Breaths
Cold environments can remove moisture from your airways and irritate your asthma. An indoor environment allows for more temperature control and limits your exposure to allergens. Also, if you feel your symptoms approaching, try breathing through your nose instead of your mouth. Your nose warms and moistens the air, making it easier to inhale.
3. Choose “Short Burst” Exercise Activities
Exercises involving constant activity, such as running, can trigger reactions. Sticking to sports with “short bursts” of activity, such as baseball, gymnastics, and walking, may help you get a workout in with fewer symptoms.
If you have exercise-induced asthma, an asthma action plan can help you manage your symptoms and prepare you for exercise.
Do you have exercise-induced asthma? Talk to Langford Allergy.
Dr. Langford and our team will accurately diagnose your condition and begin a treatment plan to help you achieve successful outcomes with your health. Langford Allergy offers a spirometry test to assess your breathing and can help determine the right treatment plan for you. You can schedule an appointment or call our office to learn more. 478-787-4728