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Top Tips for Exercising with Asthma

Top Tips for Exercising with Asthma


What is Asthma?

In Ireland there is over 400,000 people living with asthma. It is a condition that affects the airways that carry air in and out within the lungs. With asthma these airways become over sensitive, causing them to react to things that generally would not cause such a reaction such as cold air, dust and pollen. When the airways react in this way the muscles of the airways tighten causing the airway to narrow, restricting airflow through them. The lining of the airways also becomes swollen and produces mucous in response to the trigger or substance that initially created the sensitivity. This mucous can also clog up the airways, obstructing airflow. This adverse reaction by the airways in the lungs results in difficulty moving air in and out of the lungs.


Most people with asthma are prescribed medication to help prevent and relieve symptoms. These are typically inhalers. A daily preventer inhaler to protect against attacks and a relieve inhaler to use when symptoms occur. Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, including those living with it. Research has shown that structured exercise can help enhance lung function, reduce the symptoms and help control your asthma. As exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle here are some tips to remember while exercising with it.

Top Tips for Exercising:

  1. Make sure your asthma is well controlled by taking you medication correctly as prescribed by your Doctor. If you suffer from allergic rhinitis ensure you take appropriate medication to control this also.
  2. Always bring your reliever inhaler with you to exercise, train or while participating in sporting events.
  3. Develop an asthma management plan with your healthcare provider. Also carry an Asthma Attack Card with you. This card contains details explaining the Asthma Emergency Plan ‘5 Step Rule’ in case you experience symptoms during exercise. Follow this link to find out more.
  4. Inform your coach, manager, team physiotherapist or doctor, team-mates or the some of the people you are exercising with know you have it.
  5. Always do a correct warm up before exercising for up to 15 minutes. This helps prepare your body and lungs for the exercise session ahead.
  6. Maintain a good level of fitness. This will allow you to exercise for longer without experiencing asthma symptoms. A gradual increase in fitness levels is advised, discuss this with your coach to develop a safe and effective plan.
  7. Avoid exercising in areas or environments with high levels of irritants, such as pollen, fumes particularly during high humidity or strong winds. Many people with asthma suffer from hay fever. Managing your hay fever is a key part in managing your asthma. The Asthma Society of Ireland have a useful Pollen Tracker’ to help track pollen levels.

More Information

Should you require any further information on living or exercising with asthma, please ask your healthcare provider or physiotherapist. Furthermore check out the Asthma Society of Ireland website, as they have lots of great information. If you have an injury from participating in exercise or sport contact Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic today to make an appointment. We have experienced Physiotherapist to help you return to full fitness.

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